Monday, May 09, 2005

The long emergancy

Last night, Art Bell's national talk show had an interesting guest.

He wrote a book called THE LONG EMERGENCY. Similar, in thought to a film, I once saw, called END OF SUBURBIA. It's about how many aspects of current culture, from the 3,000 mile salad, to the auto crazed strip mall, are in trouble. As cheap oil runs out, the American economy could crash. Box stores, burger barns, Nascar racing, jet travel. It could be headed toward disaster.

The author describes this as a major dislocation and transition. We could be in for turbulent times, but also a transition to something, hopefully, better. As alarming as some of that author's predictions are, he didn't describe himself as a doomsday prophet. Predicting, instead, a difficult transition.

I would add a softening thought to this.

America still has plenty of coal. If we find ways to capture the carbon dioxide from coal power, it doesn't have to be the greenhouse nightmare that some fear. Nuclear power may make a comeback as well.

This is just my thinking, not mentioned on that show.

For "traditional values" people, these "traditional" sources of energy will take some of the bite out of the needed transformations.

It's "Nuclear Power for the Nuclear Family." Mom, Dad, the kids, the station wagon (now the SUV or Hummer.) Life in the burbs.

Still, more innovative and non traditional things, like wind, solar and changes in personal lifestyles, will be needed.

I have lived my entire life with out driving a car. The bicycle has gotten me all the way across USA in 9 weeks and the train took me back home in style. I have traveled across USA twice. Once in 1991 and again in 1993, plus lots of more local "peddle power" trips.


THE LONG EMERGANCY should be a good wake up call, even if coal and nuclear may soften the blow a bit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the House of Representatives, Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican (gasp!) from Maryland has been using the one hour blocks set aside for "Special Order" speaches to talk about Peak Oil, alternative fuels and conservation. If Roscoe can get it, there may be hope for us yet.