Presentation on theme: "PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 10 – Conclusion By Robert Bériault."— Presentation transcript:
PEAK OIL AND THE FATE OF HUMANITY Chapter 10 – Conclusion By Robert Bériault
So your conclusion is that humans should invest massively in renewables?
NO! Investment in renewables is very energy intensive. If all countries decided to do this at once, it would precipitate the oil peak. There just isn’t enough spare capacity to supply the oil for everybody to invest in wind and solar energy.
And if there were enough oil for everybody to invest heavily in renewables… -- it would further increase the Earth’s carrying capacity (temporarily), allowing us to deplete more of its resources, to pollute more and to destroy more biodiversity. It would result in more overshoot and a more catastrophic population crash.
I’m talking about only CANADA As demonstrated in previous chapters, Canada has the possibility to become a “Safe Zone” where humans can survive the crash.
Lifeboat ethics? Humanity is facing the end of centuries of progress in science and social advancement. It’s possible to save civilization by creating safe zones for its survival. It is tragic, but it is inevitable that large parts of the world will perish, probably this century.
When I first contemplated the “safe zone” solution for Canada I was uncomfortable with the idea, just as it probably makes you feel uncomfortable. It goes counter to my life philosophy of helping the less fortunate.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on this. I struggled extensively with this dilemma before concluding that the “safe zone” option is the only one that has a chance of working.
What’s in this for you, Robert? Why are you telling me all this?
This is why: The beautiful little girl holding the baby is my one and only grandchild. She’s accompanied by my cousins’ grand-children. Every child born today should have the expectation of a decent life. But reality will be very different for them than it was for today’s adults.
Love We give our kids love and devotion and we provide them with the best education and medical care we can afford. Yet we steal from their future by plundering the Earth’s resources and destroying Nature’s life- supporting infrastructure.
And how did this come about? I was born in 1941 into a world that naïvely promised prosperity and material comfort for every human being. The popular belief was that technology would enable us to eradicate poverty around the world.
The entire universe was within reach. There was no limit to man’s domain over nature. Very few people had any understanding of the concept of carrying capacity, natural limits and overshoot. I certainly didn’t. When I look back now, I see a much different picture. Man had conquered space!
Nature’s legacy Mother Nature has bestowed upon us a wonderful planet rich with biodiversity, minerals and sources of energy -- what one thinker refers to as our “natural capital”.
Lived on interest For hundreds of millennia humans lived more or less in balance with nature. Except for instances where they hunted species to extinction, they used only the renewable resources - the “interest”, without depleting the natural capital.
Then came coal Then came the discovery of coal, which allowed technology to take off. This allowed humans to extract Nature’s non- renewable resources, using up not only the “interest” but also the “capital”.
Discovery of oil Later, about a century and a half ago, humans discovered an unimaginable source of energy in the form of oil, a gift that Mother Nature had hidden away for them millions of years beforehand.
Urbanization and the automobile This energy allowed them to create industrial centres that drew people away from farms. Enormous cities thus resulted. Oil allowed them to put in place a transportation system that allowed individuals to travel in energy-hungry private cocoons along wide roads paved with an oil product.
Enormous food output This same source of energy enabled them to grow food in quantities never before achieved, thereby tripling the output per acre. This resulted in phantom acres of land being put into production, acres that will evaporate when oil runs short.
Medical advances Having at hand a source of energy that they treated as inexhaustible, they were able to conduct research to create vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medical procedures that more than doubled their lifespan. This contributed to an unprecedented population increase.
Exponential growth Their population grew exponentially, greatly surpassing the carrying capacity of their planet.
Manufacturing frenzy Inexpensive energy replaced much human labour in manufacturing. This allowed them to create vast quantities of consumer goods. The result is today’s feeding frenzy of manufacturing and consumption.
Destruction of farmland All this has contributed to covering valuable farmland with more and bigger buildings and houses, roads and parking lots, thereby reducing future carrying capacity.
Oil peak soon Now this technological civilization is threatened to collapse, as the oil peak is soon to come. From then on, every year there will be less oil available than the year before.
Less comfort From then on, our descendants will have to learn to live with deteriorating infrastructures. They will enjoy less and less material comfort from year to year.
End to growth There is also a distinct danger that an end to consumption growth will destroy our fragile growth-dependant economic system. If this happens, it could generate social chaos and disintegration.
Perished civilizations Many ancient civilizations have exceeded the carrying capacity of their territory and collapsed. Our technological civilization is not immune to such an outcome. Mayan civilization “The Collapse of Complex Societies”, Josep A. Tainter
Nature’s prerogative Since our present population has exceeded the Earth’s carrying capacity, Mother Nature will exercise her prerogative and cull the excess population. She usually does this with a vengeance and slashes an offending population to a level below carrying capacity.
Limits to growth Soon, when the oil peak arrives, the human population will face limits to growth head- on. That’s when Mother Nature will use one of the many tricks she has up her sleeve to decimate the humans who thought they could outsmart her with their technology.
Starvation It would be easy for Mother Nature to impose starvation upon humanity. She can’t create more oil for us, at least not fast enough to make any difference. She just needs to sit back and watch us struggle to feed ourselves without oil-derived inputs, from impoverished soil that we have depleted of humus, moisture and minerals.
Disease She would have no qualms about turning one of her myriad viruses into a form deadly to humans. We humans would actually assist her in her deadly work by expediting the virus around the globe and throughout cities by means of our aircraft, subways and busses.
Aggression and violence Finally, but not least, Mother Nature would make humans kill each other by unleashing the aggressiveness she embedded into human genes. She instilled this potential for violence into us through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.
In the anarchy that will likely occur in the world, Canada has the potential to remain an island of sanity and security.
Let’s save our part of the world. Now that we are aware of what’s happening, we’re in a better position to make the hard choices that are needed. Lets make Canada a “Safe Zone”.
And now you will be able to appreciate the wisdom of this individual: Energy & Society – The Historical Roots of Understanding “The laws expressing the relations between energy and matter are not solely of importance in pure science. They necessarily come first... in the whole record of human experience, and they control, in the last resort, the rise or fall of political systems, the freedom or bondage of nations, the movements of commerce and industry, the origin of wealth and poverty and the general physical welfare of the race. If this has been too imperfectly recognized in the past, there is no excuse, now that these physical laws have become incorporated into everyday habits of thought, for neglecting to consider them first in questions relating to the future.” Frederick Soddy, Matter and Energy, 1912; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1921
I urge you to read more on this subject and to make all your acquaintances aware of the importance of preparing Canada for the oil decline. The first book I would recommend is Richard Heinberg’s “The Party’s Over” Within the next couple of weeks I will publish on this web site a list of good books. Please check with me later.
Since you’ve read the entire book, you are probably motivated to take action in preparing for the oil decline. If you think that publicizing this book is a worthwhile effort, please contribute as much as you can toward that end. Not everybody has the time to become directly involved in an organization, and that is possibly your case. However, you can be of great help by providing funds towards the cause. 100% of any donation will be used for no other purpose than promoting awareness of the oil peak and carrying capacity problem. The main method of publicity will be through newspaper adds. You might be interested in contributing financially…
Any amount at all. I will accept a donation of $2,000,000 and if that's out of your range, $2000 or even $20 No amount is small enough to be sneered at! I do not have charitable status and don't intend to compromise my position by applying for it (Revenue Canada dictates what charitable organizations can say), so unfortunately your donation won't qualify for tax exemption. Another way to help would be to buy some of our environment-friendly nylon shopping bags. Go to shopping bags. Go to shopping bags. What payment methods are available? Please send a cheque to: Robert Bériault 895 rue de l'Oasis, Unit 4, Gatineau, QC, J8R 2W7 How much should you contribute? Thank you!