Much of what we read about 'green tech' or 'green lifestyle' trending heads toward a slightly modified version of Business/Life As Usual. If we project this ahead a decade, it assumes rather small cumulative changes in human culture: a bit more E85, more hybrid cars, more Alberta Tar Scam (Mini-Me Style), somewhat better insulated homes on 1/4 acre cul-de-sacs, not-so-supersized meals, no severe climate change impacts, and so on. And, of course, everybody uses compact fluorescents. STOP
An equally plausible scenario is what we're calling Survivalist Green. Yes there's a Hippie back-to-the-lander aspect to this; and, an NRA membership in good standing ring to it. But don't be fooled: it's an entirely new cultural direction; a direction led by an earlier-than-you-think shift from cheap to very expensive oil.
Let's explore Survivalist Green, the transformational lifestyle era. Just for fun.First review this summary of peak oil impact over the next 8 years, courtesy of an interview with Charles T. Maxwell, via Energy Blog/EnergyTechStocks.com.
Some key points from the first of four posts in EnergyTechStock.Com:
* There is only about 1.2% more oil available each year, not enough to keep up with 1.5% annual demand growth.
* Between now and 2010, this supply shortfall will be made up through a draw-down in inventories, helped out by a slowdown in demand in 2008 and 2009 due to a recession or near-recession in the U.S.
* In 2010, the shortfall will become greater than can be made up by what's still in inventory, thus beginning a period of global oil scarcity that will lead to a "peak" in conventional oil production in 2012 or 2013.
* It gets even worse in 2015, which is when he expects a peak in the production of all liquids, a category that includes condensates, tar sands oil and biodiesel.
* By 2025, "We can create some answers." He explained that both plug-in electric vehicles and cellulosic biofuel are "wonderful ideas"; however, given that it takes 10 to 15 years or longer to turn over the world's vehicular fleet, such technological breakthroughs won't happen quickly enough to prevent the nightmare from happening.
In part 2 he forecasts $12 to $15 dollars a gallon gasoline "in a few years" with oil at $180 a barrel in 2015 and $300 a barrel in 2020.
Survivalist Green has three beginning faces. The beginning is all we have time and ability to cover for now.
The most prominent face of Survivalist Green is that of the city dweller; the second is of the suburban or exurban dweller. (Covers everything from apartments along the rail line to Mega-Mansions in the exurb zone.)
The third face of SG extends to the house trailer next to Mom & Dad's farmstead and on to the Off Griders and Climate Doom Cultists.
Common to all three faces of Survivalist Green lifestyles are:
A boom in kitchen gardening and, community gardening/husbandry - in urban areas, look for extensive membership in community supported agriculture.
A dramatic fall off in per-capital solid waste generation rates: as in developing nations now, an empty container of any sort is caught on the first bounce and put to good use. Recycle/re-use rates increase very dramatically across all three facets of society.
Hunting and fishing will experience a major resurgence. Appointment to a State fish and game management commission is a coveted political opportunity.
Existing suburban tract-home developments filled with 5+ bedroom mansions will be converted to multiplex condominiums and mixed use communities with combined heat and power (CHP) units to provide electricity and heat to all residents.
Single family homes without thermal solar panels, as a minimum icon of energy independence, will be thought of as undesirable - out of fashion. A "green'er upper."
Condominiums located in old industrial areas near sources of water power will be retro-converted into industrial uses, leading to social conflicts over zoning.
Acoustic music, with a chamber component, experience a resurgence in popularity.
Bike and walking trail networks everywhere, of course.
Obesity rates in young people will drop dramatically.
Railroad stations in metro areas will be re-transitioned to urban market distribution centers - as the were in the early 20th Century.
Individual non-business overseas travel becomes rare - and typically is constrained to high school or university experience.
Business travel shrinks to that which is offset and, even then, much more of a rarity.
Supply chains for raw materials shrink dramatically. A much higher proportion of raw materials come from recycling or local extracted raw materials. As a result, consumer goods become less commoditized, designs more varied.
Self sufficiency and hard work replace workouts.
We could go on...and on. But first we must ask. Does this sound so bad?
Others have written well about overcoming the un-named, prospectively much darker outcome.
For me, peak oil is our personal and collective call to power. This is the time when we truly find out what we can do when we collectively apply our genius and brilliance. I don't believe that our collective response to crisis will be violence and disintegration, I believe our collective adaptability, creativity and ingenuity will come to the fore.
What do you think? Is there a more plausible scenario midway between Survivalist Green and the Dark Side? Or will it be closer to Business/Life As Usual?
Via:: The Energy Blog, "Oil Shortages Start in 2010; Peak Oil Hits 2012-2015" AND Transition Culture, "Why the Survivalists Have Got It Wrong" Image credit::Kid Scientist, The Truth About Cavemen