Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The crisis is here...

Folks, the house is on fire...
Eugene, over at Pudgy Indian, has a great blog entry from May 27th. You can read it here. To summarize, he points to the recent, sudden closure of 6 Chili's restaurants in Oregon as an omen of the catastrophe that is coming our way --check that --the catastrophe that is now upon us.

The price of crude oil has sky-rocketed from approximately $23/barrel in the summer of 2001 to over $125/barrel today. As the shock waves of this disastrous development burn through the wiring of our live-for-today economy, it would behoove us to brace ourselves. We can all expect rude awakenings similar to that experienced by the 200 or so former employees of Chili's restaurant who suddenly found their places of employment shut down.

Soon, maybe before the summer is out, other manifestations of the crisis will appear: cardboard signs reading "No Gas" appearing at gas station pumps, the discontinuation of airline flights between cities, produce bins at the grocery store being depleted and staying empty.

Our civilization is dependent on plentiful, cheap energy to feed us, to move us from place to place, to keep us healthy, clothed, and sheltered. As our global society's primary energy source, petroleum, attains peak production, and then begins to decline, our world economy is coming to a grinding halt... a terrible transition is at hand.

Although Junior Bush and his ilk have exacerbated and heightened the crisis, it is not their creation. This is something that has been anticipated for decades by any number of economists, sociologists, geologists, and historians. Alas, it has always been easiest to ignore the dire predictions and continue on as we have come to believe was our right. The responsibility for this mess belongs to all of us.

As Jim Kunstler relates in his post, Anxious Hiatus, the temptation is to continue on as we have done, to blithely ignore the terrifying consequences. And those that simply cannot face the facts, that are too terrified to stare down the beast that is confronting us... they have my sympathy. But the time is here. The house is on fire. The Titanic has hit the iceberg.

Am I scared? Hell, yes, I'm scared! But I won't end this post without hope. I can't.

I have been astounded, time and time again, by the inherent goodness and resourcefulness of motivated, sincere people. I don't believe that life in America will ever be the same. And the times ahead are going to be hard. But we can do this. We can get through this dark, looming cave and come out the other side with something good. Something built on our love for each other; on our unwillingness to turn our backs when we see others in pain.

Keep the faith, people!


Eclectic Dilettante said...

Iraq, Iran, Syria....

If he attacks another country that will surely trigger an economic meltdown of ghastly proportions.

Ridwan said...

Your words resonate with me Dade. Here in SAfrica folks seem just as stumped by the changes.

Food prices have risen more than at anytime in the last two decades. Farmers are not growing enough food and poor Black folk are killing other poor Black folk.

These are times that will try our collective humanity.

What must emerge is a move away from the state-centric nationalism that has carved a world filled with war and poverty.

What we know here in SAfrica is that crisis travels. Borders do not contain crises.

In 1994 when Mandela became the president the rates for HIV/AIDS, for example, was relatively low.

But wars move people. Famines move people.

Borders can't contain people. We now have 5 plus million migrants living inside SAfrica.

And not we also have the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world. Only India has more HIV/AIDS infected people in terms of gross numbers.

I am not suggesting that migrants brought HIV/AIDS to SAfrica.

I am saying that a state-centric system cannot contain any crisis.

In just 14 short years SAfrica has absorbed much of the crises that aflict our neighbours to the north.

Now, we may be facing mass starvation too.

Peace Dade,