Most people aren't paying attention. Most people have no idea what's going on. Industrial civilization is already having serious health problems and heart palpitations. By 2020, industrial civilization is going to suffer a massive stroke. By 2025, it will be in hospice. By 2030, it will be dead.
Which catchy phrase best captures the pot of boiling water we find ourselves in? Time is running out. We are at the tipping point. The dominos are falling. Whichever one we use, one thing is clear: a fundamental shift in fossil fuel use is underway. Phase 1 was the peak of conventional oil in 2005, with the ensuing GFC (global financial crisis) in 2008, papered over by massive debt conjured out of thin air by the financial manipulator magicians at the Federal Reserve. Phase 2 starts with the growing ineffectiveness of these financial measures against stark net energy realities.
In all honesty, I think there are a lot of preppers who do one of two things: they either stockpile a bunch of stuff they think will save them from having to live uncomfortably, or they go the way of permaculture and off grid living and think that will save them. I think both are wrong, at least as first steps or priorities. Survival will, unfortunately, likely be much more about your ability to do morally questionable things, band together, cooperate with strangers, and be proficient in individual and group combat tactics. You can stockpile all you want, or garden all you want at your cool cabin in the woods, or your farmland on the prairie, but if you can't protect it through superior intelligence, numbers, and firepower, then you will be an easy target and your efforts will be in vain.
I am not an expert on Syria or the Middle East or foreign policy. Or gas or oil or damn near anything. I'm just a fairly normal guy who got curious and has some serious Google-Fu moves. Before a few years ago I couldn't have found Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Ukraine, or Syria on a map (though for bonus points, I could have pointed out Russia). But I finally came to a place where I wanted to wrap my head around what was going on in that region of the world. Why did the US invade Iraq in 2003? Why did Russia invade Ukraine and annex Crimea in 2014? Why has the US and the EU imposed such harsh sanctions on Russia since then? So many news headlines, and so much confusion. In this article I'm going to lead you through the situation and help you understand what's been happening in a way that is hopefully both succinct and clear.
The key is this: US foreign policy for at least the last 4 or so decades has been about one thing: resources. Industrial civilization demands ever-increasing sacrifices of fossil fuels on its altar in order to function properly. Those who are paying attention attribute all the goings-on of globalization to be towards this end.
The early 1970's was a whirlwind era that would forever change both America and the world.
In 1971, Intel released the world's first microprocessor - the foundation of today's computers. China was admitted to the UN (United Nations). The Nasdaq, a now-popular stock market index, debuted. The environmentalist group Greenpeace formally came into existence as an organization. NPR (National Public Radio) broadcast for the first time.
Ever gone to the hospital to get a CAT scan? Yep, that was first produced in 1971. Ever used a Texas Instruments calculator? Yep, that too was first released in 1971. Do you wear contact lenses? Those first became commercially available in the U.S. in 1971. You know that body armor soldiers wear on the battlefield? Yeah, Kevlar. That went on the market in 1971. Have you ever used FedEx to send a package? It was started in 1971. Have you ever been to Disney World? It first opened in 1971.
A lot happened in '71. The real story though is that President Richard Nixon took the United States off the gold standard. This article is an exploration of what trends have been enabled by it and what has taken place because of it.
There is a vast amount of misinformation and misunderstanding when it comes to the term 'peak oil' and the topic tends to bring out visceral reactions from both sides of the argument. Try to set aside your preconceived notions and read with an open mind.
The topic raised here is what is known as Peak Oil. 'Peak oil' is mostly known as the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This can easily be seen on individual oil wells and the concept is easily broadened based on projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field of related oil wells. Peak Oil in a simple sense means that oil resources on the planet are finite and that there will come a point in time when one day less oil will be extracted than on the previous day. And the following day even less. And so on, no matter how much exploration is done, no matter how efficient the new extraction technologies developed. There will come a point when less and less oil is available for the industrialized societies of the planet. Oil production will have 'peaked'. In past decades there has been much debate about when global oil would peak, whether it already had peaked and we were declining already, or whether we were going to imminently hit the peak. Of course, all these people missed the point, and ended up getting much of the story wrong which is why so many have such varying opinions on the subject.
We are at the cusp of rapid and severely disruptive changes that will lead to widespread disorientation, anxiety, and social breakdown. As I've said before, we are facing the end of industrial civilization itself. The duration is forever. This is not akin to preparing for some small event like a hurricane or wildfire, or even one that we as a country would eventually come out of on the other side of - like a financial market meltdown, or even a civil war. This article will be the hands-on, practical how-to guide that so many have asked me to cover. This article will cover this idea of practical preparation steps. I doubt it will be popular, but it needs to be said - and enacted, at least by those who are serious about building resilience.
The narrative being pushed today is that renewables, particularly wind and solar, will save us. By “save us” they mean allow us to continue our way of life unhindered into the future, despite a lower (and eventually zero, they tell us) reliance on oil. This view is so prevalent, it seems, that reactions of denial, or even confusion, are met with indignation and insistence.
I know the claims of this hope-filled crowd for what it is: fantasy. Part of me wants to go through every piece (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear) and point out their individual flaws. But I have a particular ability to see the heart, or essence, of the issue, and I am compelled to make this simple.
My last post gave a bird's eye view of what the future will look like. How can we prepare for such a future? Preparing to face the end of industrial civilization is not an easy task mentally, physically, or spiritually.
The question is what positive program could be proposed to prepare for the coming scarcities. The answer is that the individual and local programs have to be worked out by those who recognize its importance. In this post my speculations about what should go into such a program might be used as a guide.
As I've said elsewhere, at this point it's pretty clear that we are going to experience a crash/collapse of "the way things are." Industrial civilization is crashing into limits. Once even slightly convinced, most people wonder what this means to our future on this planet. How will this play out? What does this mean? How will our lives change? This post aims to answer these questions in depth.
There are a few ideas that are foundational to understanding all this. The first is the most basic:
1.) Present trends will not continue into the future.
Those who are either unaware of or unconvinced by the evidence pointing to the massive changes we are facing in the very near future usually react with hope that it will effect some future where we have magical technology to fix it or dismiss it out of hand as conspiracy theory. Usually though these people will be more apt to listen if you give them mainstream credible sources. In this post I will give those people something to chew on: expert opinions and projections from the very highest levels of government. I will cite sources from the USGS (United States Geological Survey), the USDOE (United States Department of Energy), the NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory), the US Joint Forces Command, and Presidential energy advisors. What follows is a relatively brief overview; it barely scratches the surface but is enough to prove my point.
The future is going to be far different than the past. The next decade is going to look vastly different than the last decade. This blog is about the transition.
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Thermodynamic Failure: Phase 2
Firearms and Defense
Explaining Peak Oil
The Significance of Renewables
What Will The Future Look Like?
What Do The Experts Say?
Hope is Complex and Fragile
Personal Change Does Not Equal Social Change
Why Genesis 1:28 Doesn't Apply
It's Not About Running Out of Oil