Long Emergency

I’m a huge fan of James Kunstler’s blog, Clusterfuck Nation but hadn’t read this excerpt from his book, The Long Emergency, about life after peak oil and how that will fundamentally change how Americans live:

The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that support bigness fall away.

Summary: Our economy depends on cheap oil. Which is going away. Alternative energy can’t deliver. The centrality of the car will disappear. Suburbs will starve. Industrial agriculture will collapse. Cities without food supplies will whither.

Ah, happy thoughts. Makes me want to go read My Pet Goat






2 responses to “Long Emergency”

  1. Jonah Avatar

    Hmmm well.. that’s what happens when nations foolishly deplete their natural resources instead of finding other alternatives and possibly rebuilding their resources…

  2. John Avatar

    Ah, a subject near and dear to my heart. And Knustler is only one in a constellation of people who have been talking and warning about this for years. Matt Savinar (http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/) has a great page that addresses common misconceptions about “the end of oil.” Richard Heinberg (http://www.museletter.com) has several really good essays on peak oil. I saw Kenneth Deffeyes (http://www.princeton.edu/hubbert/) at the American Geophysical Union meeting last December and he was quite good. (Did I mention I’m a geoscientist??) Finally I would point people over to In The Wake (http://www.inthewake.org/) where they are putting together a community written survival manual for the transition times. Of course they are also advocating, shall we say, “active de-industrialization” which is a bit extreme in my view. But the survival manual is shaping up nicely.

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