"People Are Annoying": the Secret Key to Facing Peak Oil? (Video)


Image credit: miguelb, used under Creative Commons license.

From disasterbation and doom mongering to unbridled optimism or naivety, there are many possible emotional responses to the environmental, economic and social challenges we face.

Psychologist Kathy McMahon has spent a lot of time looking into the way people respond to the idea that the status quo can't last. One of the most important things we all need to face, apparently, is that people are annoying—and that that is OK.

Having gone through her own process of disturbing realization that peak oil may be a serious threat, Kathy McMahon launched a blog called Peak Oil Blues to explore people's emotional responses to peak oil. Here she sits down with Janaia Donaldson, host of Peak Moment TV, to talk through what she has learned.

McMahon is clearly not of the techno-optimist school of thought. She has, in fact, coined a term she describes as "Panglossian Disorder" for those who dismiss peak oil or climate change by shifting responsibility onto some higher authority. ("They" will figure something out, whoever "they" may be.) And while I may take issue with a similar, opposite, but equally misguided reaction from many in the peak oil camp toward rejecting any and every solution from the technological or corporate worlds (the kind of reaction that evokes immediate condemnation of a clean energy pioneer, simply because he got rich doing what he does), she does indeed have some very important insights to share.

We will, suggests McMahon, need to get to know our neighbors, and become comfortable with interacting again with humans who are inevitably flawed, complicated and, let's face it, annoying. We'll need to redefine a sense of purpose around helping our neighbors, and being OK with seeking help. And we'll need to let go of preconceived notions that the future will look anything like the past.

That all doesn't sound too bad. I just hope my neighbors don't find me too annoying.

More on Emotional Reactions to Peak Oil and Climate Change
Disasterbation Turns You Blind
Should Optimism Be Illegal?
The Importance of Optimism in the Face of Climate Change

Tags: Global Climate Change | Peak Oil | United States

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