The new survivalists

crudesmall.jpgConcerns about “peak oil” are getting more attention. I heard Lester Brown of World Resources Institute talking (Science Friday podcast) about environmental issues including peak oil, and he made the obvious but important point that peak oil means that after that point, if a country wants more oil, it has to mean another country gets less oil–leading to competition and conflict.

In addition to global concerns, individual concerns about personal safety and comfort are emerging. The WSJ had a page 1 article today on peak oil and how some people are responding to it with a survivalist’s approach–taking dramatic steps to use less energy or produce your own, storing supplies, etc. The WSJ article was irritating because the people sounded cartoonish and a bit crazy. I think painting peak oil concerns as loony fits their editorial worldview. From the article:

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. — It was around midnight one evening in November when Aaron Wissner shot up in bed, jolted awake by a fear: He wasn’t fully ready for the day when the world starts running low on oil.

Yes, he had tripled the size of the garden in front of the tidy white-clapboard house he shares with his wife and infant son. He had stacked bags of rice in his new pantry, stashed gold valued at $8,000 in his safe-deposit box and doubled the size of the propane tank in his yard.

“But I felt panicky, like I needed more insurance,” he says. So the 38-year-old middle-school computer teacher put on his jacket and drove to an all-night gas station, where he filled three, five-gallon jugs with gasoline.

“It was a feel-good moment,” says his wife, Kimberly Sager. “But he slept better.”

Aaron Wissner, a Grand Rapids, Mich., middle-school computer instructor, is part of a growing community of so-called peakniks, who are convinced that peak oil production is nigh and that there will be difficult consequences.

The article points to the “Life After the Oil Crash” website, which contains a lot of over-the-top fear-mongering, but nonetheless is an indicator that energy concerns could lead to unpredictable and serious social responses, where these graphics come from…graph_201_10_4_2006.jpg

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One response to “The new survivalists

  1. There’s evidence that oil self-replenishes by whatever mechanism makes it in the first place (it’s *not* rotted dinosaurs!). Capped oil fields have been found to have oil, again.

    As to survivalists, there’s an interesting article from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on “modern survivalists:

    http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1299768.html

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