I posted a rather depressing – although quite realistic – comment on the thread of an article in last Friday’s Telegraph, “Oil price shock; you ain’t seen nothing yet“, which I followed with another, more optimistic one, both of which I though worth posting here on my blog.
“Oil price shock“
Why the “shock” or surprise? Many of us have seen this coming for decades and been warning about it.
We should have started moving away from a fossil-fuel based economy decades ago, when the necessity was made abundantly clear in numerous publications, but our political and business leaders weren’t interested. Nor the media, which encouraged people not to worry but to follow their leaders example and continue with business and consumption as usual.
The Telegraph was – as it still largely is – particularly dismissive of suggestions that the economy needed to be placed on a sustainable basis.
Still, why should I worry? By the time things start to turn really nasty here in western Europe, with a bit of luck, I shall be dead and gone.
Sorry kids! I’m afraid that we – your parents and grandparents – have screwed up on you. But don’t think we didn’t want the best for you. We did. We were just too stupid, too greedy, too complacent, too distracted (by work, shopping, holidays, providing for YOU etc.) to realise that we were screwing up.
Despite the above post, and the inherent non-sustainability of our rapacious, growth- and fossil-fuel and other non-renewable-resource depend economy, along with the grossly materialistic lifestyles and lifestyle aspirations it both engenders and depends upon, I see no reason (or excuse) for resignation or despair.
We may not be able to avoid the approaching global catastrophe, but we CAN still reduce its scale and increase our children’s prospects for survival and recovery. The only question is HOW?
Obviously, the first thing an increasing number of people need to do, is come out of denial. Otherwise there’s no hope at all. Keeping our heads in the sand may serve us well, personally, who are soon going to be dead and gone, but that’s hardly a responsible attitude to take towards our children and grandchildren, who will still be alive (hopefully) long after, and who many want children and grandchildren of their own . . .
Then we need to develop an understanding of our situation and how we got into it – why our political and business leaders, aided by the media, led us into denial, instead of facing up to the threat when it was being pointed out to us.
I spent most of the 70s expecting politicians to face up to the issue of sustainability, and then most to the 80s and 90s trying to understand why they weren’t. Why instead, and insanely, they were leading us into denial and encouraging us to carry on with business and life as usual.
The answers I eventually came up with and am still working on (which are in urgent need of being extended and clarified) are based on a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, approach to understanding human nature and the social, political, religious and economic power structures it has given rise to over the centuries.
Our situation is essentially a consequence and expression of our own, perverted, Darwinian nature. Only by developing an understanding of it, rather than continuing to deny or rationalise it, is there any hope of us solving our existential