college prep work

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Talking about peak

I tried to way of the hammer in talking to my family about peak oil. I feel it was the way most similar to what I had been doing already so I tried to stick with it and see if it could be done better.
I tried to combine it along with the generating openings so that I could use their comparisons that they have made in the past to their advantage and try and break up that argument as Andy showed up in his class skit. So the argument that my parents make is that since they lived through the 70s and the oil issues with Iran and that they made through at that point in time, so they will be able to now.
Most people their age seem to feel this sense of security from that moment. That may be a reason why people in our government have decided to do so little while other countries are making transitions. While I do not know whether or not other countries had the same amount of issues with oil as much as the U.S. has in the recent past. We have seen that obviously places like Cuba and the Soviet Union have had issues greater than ours, but of the countries such as Sweden and Germany who are making changes I would like to know if they have had the same issues as the U.S. has. But since our government officials feel that they have triumphed over the oil issue I think that is why the generation in power does not get worried about the issue.
The fact that I keep pressing is that it is not an issue of getting a supply from a country or being cut off by some power. The only power that is stopping us is now Mother Nature. We are demanding more than we have available, so there will not be any more long oil lines for a short period of time. Once there start to be shortages and areas being cut off from oil it will not come back, but only continue to get worse.
People also have this sense (whether or not they act like they like the U.S. government) that if other countries are making the transitions away from oil that whenever the U.S. wants to do it they can. So since they are not seeing anything around themselves that it is a serious issue they do not believe that it is. This is that bandwagon idea that we are talking about in class. And it really depends on completely what our government feels is important to get the people heated and wanting to make any change on. We saw this in the example with Iraq. I doubt that even 1000 people felt threatened by the Iraqi government and the idea that they might have weapons of mass destruction. Once the government started plastering the news that there was this huge threat people jumped on board. They also used to good tactic of the life connection saying that the Iraq government was responsible for what happen with the world trade towers.
I think what I need to do is try and start with a new group of people because my family seems to have now heard me using these arguments before and seem to be pretty stubborn. While I have been holding onto the idea that we will not have such a hard time with peak oil I feel that this is showing me that it will not be easy and in fact will be towards some of the worst case scenarios. As we have talked about in class the level of which we will collapse depends on how soon the preparation starts. This has shown me the lesson that people do not want to deal with negative things until they smack them in the face. Although from epistemology they should be sensing that something bad is coming from the raising prices as well as the more frequent tensions that are being had with oil rich countries, the feeling of looking away and not seeing it coming must be stronger than the feeling of knowing that it is coming. We have all these examples from Cuba, to the build up of massive dept that the U.S. has made which is similar to what happened with the depression in the 30s.
I have signed up to go talk with people who believe peak oil is happening in a peak oil meet up group. I feel that at least if I cannot convince my own family then I will have ties with some people when it does happen. As Andy has said it is important to have group skills and work together because it will be almost impossible to survive on your own. I have pretty much given up on my family so I feel that now I need to just find a certain group where I can fit in, who knows they might have a summer job for me.

1 Comments:

At 8:06 PM, Blogger esbeccari said...

Henry:
When I have spoken to adults outside of my family about peak oil, it seems like a huge proportion of them are skeptical about the peak oil theory, just as the adults that you approached were. You mentioned that a lot of them think that because of their experience with the 1973 crisis in the U.S. that they are troopers and they can handle any other energy collapse. Maybe, to help them really comprehend, you could bring up the notion that peak oil is a permanent situation. Once oil peaks, there won’t be any turning back; there won’t be any reserves left. Peak oil isn’t the result of some messed up market price gouging. It’s ironic that the same generation of people who are responsible now for the policies that the U.S. makes towards energy efficiency and the environment are also skeptical about peak oil, it compounds the problem. It is also a very American mentality to just rely on the governments influence on the world market to make changes. Americans think they are untouchable. Your post is the only one I have read so far that addresses that those in power have this notion of invincibility due to their age and experience.
With regard to “I do not know whether or not other countries had the same amount of issues with oil as much as the U.S. has in the recent past.” I think the U.S. is the biggest consumer of energy in the world, and in turn, the largest emitter of green house gases and other forms of pollution, so while I think other countries do face some difficult transitions into other forms of energy and lifestyles, I do not think anyone will have the same scale of hardship.
Throughout your post, I noticed a sense of inevitability, in two senses. The first sense was that peak oil will happen, soon. Is this something that you believe beyond any shadow of a doubt? The second way I perceived a sense of fatalism was that you seem to have given up on explaining peak oil theory to your parents and convincing them. You are usually pretty good at convincing people, so this is strange. You should ask what it would take for them to believe in the theory, what their threshold for belief is.
“While I have been holding onto the idea that we will not have such a hard time with peak oil I feel that this is showing me that it will not be easy and in fact will be towards some of the worst case scenarios. As we have talked about in class the level of which we will collapse depends on how soon the preparation starts.” People’s receptiveness to peak oil does affect our preparation for the crisis. It does affect whether peak oil will be a crisis at all. If people ignore it and deny it much longer, we will be at mercy to the forces of nature that occur when global warming and peak oil hit simultaneously. This general mentality of ignoring the negative seems to be a society – wide illness, and maybe we should try to address that as a class, or as individuals. “The truth hurts”.
You’re post raised a lot of issues that I have come across myself, and others that were interesting to consider.
Eugenia

 

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