A long-predicted tsunami is heading toward the shores of America, a
wave of incredible proportions, gathering momentum with each passing day. America
has had many, many warnings of how this giant wave would develop, but these
warnings have been totally ignored. Very soon our American society will experience
an extremely painful awakening to the dark specter of "Peak Oil" as
it looms on our horizon and then comes crashing down upon our nation. Peak Oil
will result in drastic and dramatic changes to our society and our lifestyles,
the likes of which we will find extremely difficult to comprehend.
By now, most Americans know what a tsunami is. However, the vast majority of
America has no clue as to what Peak Oil is. In the simplest of explanations,
Peak Oil is that point when the total world production of oil and all known
reserves are surpassed by the world demand. At that point the supply will be
steadily reduced and the ravages of Peak Oil will begin.
The US experienced an American Peak Oil in the 1970s when, because of our lack
of production capacity and reserves, we were forced to import more and more
from foreign sources. Our insatiable appetite for that black gold has now increased
to the point that we are now importing about two thirds of our total oil consumption
from OPEC and other exporting countries.
Of the approximate 84 million barrels of oil consumed on a daily basis by the
nations of this planet, the US consumes roughly 21 barrels million of that total,
or about 25 percent -- an astounding figure for a nation that represents about
5 percent of the entire world's population. Now that the economies of China
and India are growing very swiftly, they are consuming greater and greater quantities
of oil. With this new sharp upward spike in world demand, the specter of Peak
Oil looms over this planet more ominously with each passing day.
Is Peak Oil a solid theory? Numerous world-class scientists and petroleum experts
have conducted intensive studies of this predicted happening over many years
and are convinced that it will not only happen but that we are now situated
at its very beginning. There are detractors, of course, who say that these scientists
and other experts are practicing scare tactics just as those who have issued
dire warnings about Global Warming. Even so, some of the most knowledgeable
experts in this field are of the opinion that we have already entered the Peak
Oil era; many others say that it will begin somewhere between 2006 and 2010.
While I am personally convinced that Peak Oil is a definite reality that America
and the world cannot avoid, it seems apparent that Americans simply have no
conception of this monumental problem they will soon have to face. They hear
little to nothing on network or cable TV or in their newspapers or magazines.
To become knowledgeable, Americans must tune in to the Internet. Websites such
as peakoil.com, fromthewilderness.com are good starting points. Answers.com
is a great website that identifies a wide array of other websites that concentrate
on Peak Oil, as well as all sorts of references and links to essays and discussions
on this subject. Googling "Peak Oil" will also bring up numerous links.
Now, let's examine and discuss just how our lifestyles, yours, mine and those
of all Americans, will be radically changed forever, and will never be the same,
at least until this planet can be powered by energy other than fossil fuels.
As you gain knowledge about Peak Oil, you will understand that the supposed
fallback certainty of alternative energy, including hydrogen fuel cells, electric
cars, windmills, etc. is more talk than action. Our government, automakers,
and corporate energy giants are doing little to nothing to promote conservation
or develop new energy sources. Fossil fuel is king and those in power are more
than willing to accept that sad fact.
The 4-5-Car Family -- One of the very first casualties of
the effect of Peak Oil will be that the 4-5 car family will disappear, as it
should since it is one of the most egregious examples of how petroleum is wasted
in the US. The now common practice of high school seniors being given their
own vehicles, with many unnecessarily driving to high school will abruptly end.
The great American dream of the automobile that has now turned into a virtual
nightmare will see a drastic reduction in the number of autos in this nation.
Because fuel will simply not be available for millions of America's autos, families
will be forced to share and cooperate as they have never done before. They will
have no choice.
Gas Guzzling SUVs, 500-HP Pickups, Hummers -- The sales of
overly large, grotesque SUVs, the monster pickup trucks and the totally nonsensical
Hummers will quickly tank and millions of these societal aberrations will end
up in the scrap heaps long before their natural life has passed. That will be
a blessing in itself. Many, many Americans will be forced to wake up and will
gravitate to the high mileage hybrid autos pioneered by Toyota and Honda, now
also being developed by US automakers.
Our National Trucking, Distribution System -- The very lifeblood
of our entire economy will be severely crippled as millions of trucks will find
less and less available fuel. This, of course, will directly affect every element
of our economy as noted in sections below. Years ago when railroads should have
been subsidized through intelligent planning and developed into a system, such
as found in Europe, our short-term thinkers in Washington poured all the monetary
resources into the Interstate Highway System. The trucking industry took off
like a rocket and the railroads began to die. That scenario will now be completely
reversed as Peak Oil delivers our nation a terrific blow. Railroads will be
one of our prime fallback positions.
The Airline Industry -- Again, Peak Oil will have a devastating
effect on most of the airline industry since jet fuel represents one of the
greatest uses of petroleum. With several airlines now approaching potential
bankruptcies, just think of what this industry will have to face in the future.
The disruptive and continuing disagreements regarding wages, healthcare, and
pensions between management and unions will be totally set aside as the industry
frantically tries to figure out to survive. The US government will be helpless
to even try to bail them out.
Millions Upon Millions of Auto Commuters -- Today, in many,
many cities the average number of occupants in a typical auto commuting to work
is somewhere around 1.5. That will change very quickly as our oil supplies begin
to dry up. What will people do? In many cases, the railroads will benefit as
more and more commuters will have to choose railroads as their primary way to
get to work. But the overall magnitude of this problem will be astounding because
of the suburban sprawl. Those millions who typically have a 100-mile plus round
trip drive to work will face a monumental problem.
Supermarkets, Wal-Mart, et al -- Since the trucking industry
will be severely crippled, you can be certain that those shelves containing
50-75 brands of bread, cereals, aspirins, deodorants and many other products
will be greatly reduced and the products offered will be much more basic. And,
when you stop to think about that, that sounds like one of the least of our
problems. Wal-Mart may find itself in dire straits, indeed, since their stores
are chock full of plastic products which will not be able to be transported
from China and the rest of the world.
Auto, Truck Production -- Because the demand for these vehicles
will drop drastically, the major auto producers will find themselves at the
brink of bankruptcy. Since the American Dream revolves around the automobile,
this will be one of the most drastic results of the lack of oil, with the loss
of thousands upon thousands of jobs in the auto industry and related suppliers.
Agriculture -- The most critical of all elements of our economy
and for our very survival is our food supply, including the supply chain that
farms use to produce crops and the distribution of the resulting foodstuffs
to the nation. Pesticides and fertilizers are largely derived from petroleum.
Our farm industry will be put at risk when the supply of oil begins to dry up
and our government will need to put agriculture at the very top of the list
of those who will receive priority in coping with the Peak Oil crisis.
Overall, General Effects -- As the Peak Oil era begins and
then accelerates, Americans will be affected in many different ways. Have you
noticed just how rapidly the cost of a gallon of gasoline has escalated in the
past year as the price of petroleum has recently risen to some $60 barrel? That
is nothing when considering that Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has predicted
that the price of gas will hit $3 a gallon sometime in 2006. The housing boom
will be affected in many ways, including the fact that thousands upon thousands
of tons of roofing shingles will not be produced, and many other critical materials
will not be able to be transported to thousands of towns and cities. The availability
of tires for autos and all other vehicles will be severely diminished. Millions
of asphalt streets and highways will not be repaved and others will not be constructed.
The Interstate Highway System that we now enjoy and take for granted will begin
a steady deterioration and will severely impact our economy. We Americans will
see our travel for business and leisure reduced to a very significant degree.
To conclude, while I could go on and portray many other elements of the devastating
effect that Peak Oil will have upon our society, my message to the American
people is just this. To the millions upon millions of Americans who are content
to be safely tucked into their protective cocoons, in a self-imposed state of
apathy and disinterest relating to these massive problems that America faces,
this may be the very final wake-up call. If we, as a nation do not collectively
recognize the threat of this great tsunami, refuse to think more deeply or get
educated and involved, we will be sealing the fate of our children, our grandchildren
and those who follow. They are the ones who matter. We simply cannot refuse
to address this monumental issue that threatens their very future existence!
When Peak Oil slams into our society with its tsunami-like force, there will
be an instant negative effect on each and every one of us. The US government
will have to take immediate measures to prioritize the uses of petroleum for
the good of the nation in an effort to overcome the horrendous obstacles that
we will face. I am sure that the military, our national police forces, energy
providers, the agriculture industry, water supply sources and other critical
users of gasoline and natural gas will be given the highest priorities. All
other uses of petroleum will be given much lower priorities and will not be
considered critical. And that is exactly why lifestyles will be altered drastically.
We simply cannot let our insatiable, our totally out-of-control thirst for
oil, cripple our nation and our society as we stand in a completely docile,
sheep-like state and just let it happen; just let nature take its course. Just
as the Titanic went down with the loss of more than 1,500 passengers who believed
she was invincible, Peak Oil will bring down America (and actually the entire
world) if we, collectively, do not have the heart and the desire to get involved
and demand solutions.