The Beat : A Boshian
Peak Oil Canvas
By Bill Henderson
05 August, 2006
"As the authors
of THE LIMITS TO GROWTH so plainly said three decades ago, exponential
growth rates can be very powerful. They can create growth curves which
suddenly mushroom, as 3% increments of small numbers suddenly become
a 3% increase of a much larger base. This mushroom growth can quickly
become almost overwhelming until powerful forces of physical limits,
the finally unseen consequences of such growth rates, suddenly appear
"out of nowhere", bring these trends to an abrupt halt."
Matthew Simmons Revisiting
The Limits To Growth
billions now contemplating the imminent peak of oil production and the
consequent peak of that spike of human population we are all a part
of, each day brings a wider, deeper understanding of what life at the
peak means. But the incredible energy, the pace and momentum, the creative/destructive
power of this moment of maximum human power is water to fish underappreciated.
Feel the pulse; feel the
beat. Never been more blood pumping. Never been anything more alive.
In each of these last years
before oil production inevitably drops, we are using more oil (and coal,
natural gas and other forms of energy) than humanity has ever used before.
Over 80 million barrels per day (mbd). More oil in 2006 than the total
amount the world used before 1960. Each year.
Our ability to multiply our
anthropogenic powers utilizing these energy sources ever more efficiently
allows us to clear more land and plant more crops, cut down more forests,
drain or fill more swamps and estuaries; mine more materials, hunt,
fish or gather; manufacture and otherwise transport and supply more
product; build more buildings, complexes, cities, on more converted
land (sprawling further, reaching higher into the heavens, packing ever
more dense populations) and otherwise redesign Earth for human use more
completely than ever before. We have never even come close to having
this much capacity to consume nature. Relentlessly, year by year, at
strenuous pace, effecting almost every ecosystem on the planet.
Each year of record production
and use of energy - ....2004, 2005, 2006, ....to somewhere near a 92-94
mbd peak in around 2010 in Chris Skrebowski's most informed prediction
- also helps to exponentially increase our scientific understanding
of creation and our place within; helps to fuel the most fiction written;
the most music written, preformed and recorded; the most plays or dance
preformed; the most works of art and architecture painted, sculpted,
conceived and executed; THE MOST REALITY TV SHOWS EVER and the most
introspection of our human soul and place in creation ever attempted.
Year after year with awesome intensity we race toward ever more complex
understanding of what life is.
Like the best party ever,
at the peak there are more people feverishly talking and dancing, swiving
and praying, prancing and doing deals, eating and drinking, people watching
and acting bored, whooping it up or paralyzed with fear, loving and
grooming, hating and fighting, catering and cleaning up, puking and
peeing, in ecstasy or in contemplation, in pleasure or in pain, more
people more alive than ever before and maybe more people at a party
than there will ever be again.
Try talking oil depletion
protocol or contraction-convergence or biodiversity protection or runaway
global warming at this party. Might as well try reading a holy book
in the crowd at an entertainment lollapalooza of Olympic proportion.
Might as well try and change
the music just as the terrorists on the 93rd floor try and get their
15 seconds worth of attention for kosher meat (That is their concern?
the 93rd story terrorists particular concern isn't it? What I can't
hear you? What? Oh, forget it.). While an untold number of Virginians
await their partners returning to the party from war against the neo-bonobos
(if they can ever find their cars in the chaos in the parking lot).
While movers and shakers play simcity with the lives of millions, soon
to be billions at the party through the live simulcast at every theatre,
sportsbar and church hall on this the best SuperSaturday till next week.
Soldiers shooting; battleships cruising; the great satan invisible high
overhead in apocalyptical vigilance.
Well I hope you get my drift
anyway. Never have we been more alive.
The crescendo reminds me
of Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice; our god made mouse, the
personalization of our quest with fossil fuels. There is water everywhere.
But what happens over the peak? Does Mickey drown? Does the castle just
burst? Do the brooms run out of water? Is the sorcerer still in the
building? Do we powerdown or come apart at the seams? Wake up tomorrow
with a variety of hangovers?
I guess we'll just have to
wait and see. But right now we might as well enjoy the party - with
as small a consumption footprint as possible. Watch out for the brooms
and water, the neocons and WW3; know where the exits are and have a
plan. But have fun enjoying the best party of a humantime.
newnoah (at) pacificfringe.net