One of my many other hats is the one I wear as a member of the ASPO-USA board and editor of the Peak Oil Review Commentary. My favorite kind of commentary is the one that puts together short pieces from a lot of thinkers, all answering the same question – and this must be the favorite of a lot of people, because it has generated a tremendous response. Perhaps favorite response to the question “What are we missing? What part of our environmental/energy/economic crisis isn’t getting enough attention?” was Nate Hagen’s answer (only partly excerpted here):
Basically, though it’s counter-intuitive, we don’t have an energy shortage but a longage of expectations. This is actually good news, but it requires a shift in perception, objectives, and actions. Ergo, before we are able to create and implement what a better future looks like, we likely first have an appointment with the digital, financial reaper, and will have to deal with the social stability and logistical issues that accompany a large reduction in what we thought we had.”
Or maybe it was Peter Kilde’s analysis, which points to the lack of focus on the poor – and how many of us are joining them (again, this is just part of his larger point):
So many of the programs and services that assist the poor are really largely designed to help in planning, whether called case management, budget counseling, job and career development, homelessness prevention or community organizing. They don’t do much for bad luck, but can be a very effective antidote to poor planning, while providing some tangible relief from poverty’s hardships. So now, when the preparation for harder times ahead requires more planning assistance for the poor than ever, another face of the imminent collapse, bankrupt governments, is threatening to severely cut those very programs that low income families need most, like community action agencies. This too is a little discussed but important reality as the ranks of America’s poor reach 45 million and is growing fast.”
Or maybe it was Kurt Cobb (and yes, there’s more good stuff here too!):
Many of the rights we take for granted in an energy-rich age are really products of that energy, not of the political process. For example, the right to travel means nothing if you cannot afford to do it. The right to consume as many resources as one can get one’s hands on is a product of a resource-rich age. Such rights may have little meaning for most people in a resource-impoverished future. Our natural inclination is to extrapolate our current forms of democratic governance into the future and assume more or less the same scope of action for the individual under that system. If central governments remain robust-not a given based on current trends-then their policies in an age of declining resources will, of necessity, restrict more and more our presumed “freedoms” that are tied to consumption.
Ok, I can’t decided – we had so much response (and the discussion has continued) that I have had to spread it over three weeks. You’ll see mine later on, and some more of the best ones in the next two coming weeks. Meanwhile, read the whole thing – these are just excerpts of three opinions and there are many more – this week also has Dmitry Orlov, Art Berman, Bill McKibben and Steven Kopits – and I haven’t even gotten to Richard Heinberg, Nicole Foss, Jeff Rubin, Jeff Brown,Toby Hemenway, Tad Patzek, Tom Philpott,,,,you begin to see why it will take three weeks!
I also welcome suggestions here for questions to ask an ever-widening group of ASPO’s allies and supporters – what would you like to hear people address?