Peak Pandemic

Bird flu is on a lot of minds today (although not nearly enough), but another gigantic problem of far greater magnitude is looming on the horizon. Peak energy is about to slap everyone in the face, worldwide.

Matthew R. Simmons is the Chairman of the energy-industry investment banking firm Simmons & Company International, and he’s giving the warning cry to what will prove to be civilizations Achilles heel:

“As I study the oil situation, the problems get worse… [but] the peak oil movement has grown from being a pimple to a pandemic” Culture Change

I get a lot of people calling about bird flu, people who want to prepare with 2 – 3 months of food or maybe longer. Their concern is valid, but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg. The avian flu could kill 20 or 30 million people in this country – but starvation due to peak energy could kill 100 million. Peak energy is a generational crisis, whereas bird flu will at worst last a few years, coming in probably three waves and then die out (until the next pathogen mutates).

Peak energy has global impacts that are only superficially similar to bird flu. The greatest threat is the long term nature of peak energy and how it will affect the very fabric of modern civilization. To some, resorting to community based agriculture and locally produced goods and consumables is a step backwards to the 1800’s. Their ignorant of the fact that almost every morsel of food travels at least 1500 miles (representing a lot of oil) before reaching the consumer. This will no longer be an option, food will come into extreme demand as energy supplies dwindle.

I harp a lot on our present culture (for good reason) and the need to live sustainably – peak energy is about to make the cultural change needed a stark and painful reality. Limited and expensive energy will force change at the very foundations of our society. Lasting change is almost always the result of an overwhelming need. We’re about to see that happen in a very painful way.

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