Feeling Lost? You Are Here!
Every once in a while I have to stop and recall how it is that we are in such a mess. So today as I was thinking about that very thing I came across the following video. Many of you know who Peter Coyote is and will recognize his voice as he narrates a brief history of how we got to be here. He makes this story more interesting by telling his personal story through the lens of energy. It’s the lens that all of our stories must be viewed through. Energy, in this case coal, oil and nuclear, which are responsible for the uncontrolled growth that has enabled humanity to overshoot the planets ability to support us indefinitely. An indefinitely is how most people think that the world is going to continue. (World without end, Ahhh-amen Ahhh-amen) Maybe not so.
A Bayesian World!
For those who don’t know Thomas Bayes was a Presbyterian Minister in England back in the 1700′s who had an interest in logic and mathematics. His main contribution concerned the phenomenon of probabilities and how they change as events happen or knowledge is increased. He is considered by many to be the Father of the Mathematical discipline of “Probability and Statics“. So what’s my point?
To answer that question I have to digress. When I first started blogging about energy it was with the belief that there were solutions to mankind’s energy conundrum as fossil fuels had reached their peak of production and the use there of were causing damage to the environment and altering the climate. At the time I thought that the probability was that we had time to make the changes necessary to transition away from what had obviously become a blunder to a system of sustainable energy production for electricity and transportation. Now, as I’ve learned more about what has happened and what it implies, I’m no longer sure that we are ever going to be able to save the civilization that we have all grown up in. (Perhaps it’s for the best…it’s been stated… but that is an argument for another day and with another person as I will never accept that to be true. In my mind it is a total disaster) Because of the things that I have learned and the developments that have transpired, at this point in time, the greatest probability is that humanity stands at the threshold of extinction. If by some miracle (I’m agnostic about God but I do pray for that miracle) we manage to avoid extinction it is a certainty that the world will be a much different place than it is today. A much different place than what we have been led to expect from the futurists who imagined that growth could be forever. As we squander the remaining fossil energy in a vane attempt to stave off the collapse of the world’s economic system we are making any hope of a sustainable future more remote.
You Are Here
How many times have you looked at a map of a Mall or a Subway System and seen that dot that tells you where you are in relation to where you might want to go? Dozens I’d guess.
So in relation to where we’ve been and where we might go… YOU ARE HERE!
This video is a history. Some will dispute that it’s true. Some will deny that what it implicates is impossible. Some will “get it” and hopefully help to make that MIRACLE come true. History is often ‘rewritten’ but the truth can’t be obscured forever. As a species and a civilization we are in trouble. Just a few short years ago I, like most, hadn’t a clue as to just how dire our situation was. I knew that it wasn’t pretty but I didn’t imagine what it really meant.
Regardless of what one believes, it’s plain that things can’t go on ‘business-as-usual’ much longer. The wall will be hit. The question is: where will you be then? In future posts I’ll take a look at some of the things that we might do to make the coming changes a little easier to cope with. For today, I just send my blessing, for all they’re worth.