I have been thinking a lot about the impending oil crisis, what with watching "A Crude Awakening", available through Netflix... highly recommend you watch it. You know, it's one thing to know the oil is running out and all, but another to realize the scale of use we have gotten into.
Look around you: there isn't one item of furniture, clothing, equipment, food or toy that isn't transported, made from plastic, packaged in petrochemicals or powered by oil-sourced electricity.
Fine, I used to say. So we'll just use alternative sources of energy, mine our landfills for plastic to recycle... we'll manage somehow!
So it was very sobering to hear experts talk about the hugeness of the problem. A barrel of crude is the energy equivalent of 25,000 hours of human labor! That's the equivalent amount of energy output of 12 people laboring forty-hour weeks for a whole year! Paid $5/hour that's the monetary equivalent of $125,000 - which we pay $63 for wholesale. When the price of oil rises, this is the scale on which inflation might occur...
Cuz when you think about it, a barrel of crude oil is like having access to slave labor - without the danger of a slave rebellion or intermarriage! Oil is doing all the labor that therefore humans don't have to - and our whole civilization and standard of living rests upon this foundation of cheap energy.
All great civilizations were founded on slave labor - can you think of any empire that didn't conscript slaves? Pretty much all the massive construction projects were undertaken with either slave labor or convicts... much the same thing after all.
So it's like every time we fill up our gas tank we are harnessing the work of 12 slaves, forcing them to do our bidding, making them haul us around in a big box going at 60 miles an hour... and we don't have to feed them, clothe them, put them up overnight. Just leave them outside in all kinds of weather, get pissed off if the price of gas goes up!
Nothing's for free. This "slave labor" might not rebel outright, but it will dstroy our planet. Global warming is a fact, no matter what major media would like us to believe: who owns the major media anyway? They have vested interests in keeping us oil-dependent. Check out Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" if you haven't... pretty compelling. Hard to dismiss.
Basically, the oil crisis centers around food: how are we going to acquire food in cities, how are we going to grow it without petrochemical fertilizers, how are we going to feed 6 billion people and counting. The global warming crisis centers around water: too much water in one place, too little in another, water where ice should be, storms more violent than they used to be. Right at this moment, it's a toss-up which will kill us first.
It's time to make peace with change. And with suffering. And with death. It is going to be an interesting decade, no matter how optimistic the outlook. And it's time to learn to relax, because we are not going to be able to control any of the outcomes...
It's time for more taichi practice.