Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
0
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World - Dmitry Orlov

7,242

Published on

Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World …

Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World

by Dmitry Orlov

March 25, 2010

Bristol Community College

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Published in: News & Politics
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
7,242
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
8
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
6
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Our Future and the End of the Oil Age: Building Resilience in a Resource-Constrained World Dmitry Orlov March 25, 2010 Bristol Community College   University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
  • 2. Peak Oil Theory vs. Reality <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global oil production peaks and declines gradually; slow growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternative and renewable energy ramps up to compensate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenging economic environment, many social and political problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Massive spikes in oil prices crash financial markets and kill growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No money for alternatives or further oil exploration and production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial, commercial, political collapse followed by something completely different </li></ul></ul>
  • 3. HOPE: for an alien intervention? <ul><ul><li>Peak Oil models work well for individual countries. Prima facie: most of USA peaked in 1970 (Alaska peaked later) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual countries compensate by importing oil from countries that have not peaked yet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When the entire planet peaks, there is nobody left to import from - except aliens from outer space, of course! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industrial economies cannot grow without increasing fossil fuel consumption (empirical result). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Without growth, debts go bad, economic and political problems mount, and economies collapse </li></ul></ul>
  • 4. HOPE: for an alien intervention? <ul><li>Without help from friendly space aliens, we won&apos;t have the energy to power a gradual energy descent. It will be a cliff. The right-hand side of this graph is pure science-fiction. </li></ul>
  • 5. Scraping the bottom of the oil barrel <ul><li>The new oil is not like the old oil: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy Returned on Energy Invested has gone from 100:1 to 10:1 and is heading down </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We are using up the dregs: deep offshore, heavy/sour crude, tar sands, arctic oil... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil consumers will run out of money before oil companies run out of places to drill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The agony of the industrial age can be prolonged by destroying what&apos;s left of the biosphere </li></ul></ul>
  • 6. Scraping the bottom of the oil barrel <ul><li>Net Energy = Usable Acquired Energy / Energy Expended </li></ul>
  • 7. ...the bottom of somebody else&apos;s barrel <ul><ul><li>The US has to import over 2/3 of its transportation fuels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High oil prices mean extra revenue for oil exporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil exporters invest that money in their domestic economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their domestic oil consumption increases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequently, there is less oil for them to export </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Net exporters become net importers even while they are still pumping some oil (just as the USA did in 1970). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many oil importers end up left out in the cold </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil importers who ride scooters and use kerosene lamps do a lot better than oil importers who drive SUVs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is not a contest for who can use the most oil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is a contest for who can grow their economy using the least amount of oil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We have already lost; let&apos;s regroup and try again </li></ul></ul>
  • 8. HOPE: for an alien intervention? <ul><li>The aliens better bring us some money too... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High energy prices cut into personal budgets, making individuals unable to service their debts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Banks are burdened with nonperforming loans, toxic assets, foreclosed properties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Governments step in to bail out banks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fractional reserve banking? Volcker: 12:1, Greenspan: 30:1, Bernanke: infinity to 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economy continues to shrink, job losses mount, tax revenues collapse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who bails out the governments? Why, aliens from outer space, of course! </li></ul></ul>
  • 9. Lifeblood transfusion? <ul><li>&amp;quot;You see, the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy.&amp;quot; </li></ul><ul><li>[Obama, State of the Union Speech, February 2009] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>According to Treasury data, the long-term trend is that by 2015 an additional dollar of debt will produce 0 additional GDP growth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The short-term trend is that debt is rising rapidly as the economy is continuing to shrink (so we may be there already!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The economic patient is hemorrhaging too fast for the transfusion to work </li></ul></ul>
  • 10. More debt, anyone? <ul><ul><li>The Treasury borrows trillions from the Federal Reserve and promises to repay this debt with even more debt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone is supposed to believe that this activity is somehow meaningful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actually we are just writing ourselves IOU&apos;s and periodically moving them from one pocket to another (not convincing) </li></ul></ul>
  • 11. Why can&apos;t this show go on? <ul><ul><li>A system that evolved in conditions of continuous growth of material resources cannot shrink controllably </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The key ingredient is confidence; once faith in the future is lost, everyone&apos;s behavior changes radically </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone at the top already knows that this show cannot go on and are (attempting to) plan accordingly, for themselves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The name of the game is &amp;quot;Keep the rest of them fooled for as long as possible&amp;quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People are still paying down their mortgages, putting money in their retirement accounts, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being fooled this way can make people very angry </li></ul></ul>
  • 12. The logic of diminishing returns <ul><ul><li>Joseph Tainter, in his Collapse of Complex Societies , pointed out that social complexity increases until further investment in complexity becomes counterproductive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He also pointed out that complex systems do not self-simplify; they collapse catastrophically and are eventually replaced with much simpler systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diminishing returns are observable and measurable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diminishing returns cannot be explained using the internal logic of the systems involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The people involved in maintaining these systems struggle along, but are eventually forced to give up </li></ul></ul>
  • 13. Examples of diminishing returns <ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar of debt causes the economy to shrink even faster </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar of defense spending makes the country less safe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar spent on health care makes the country sicker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar spent on education makes the people more ignorant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar spent on the justice system increases injustice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar spent on job creation increases unemployment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each additional dollar contributed to a political campaign makes the people even more powerless </li></ul></ul>
  • 14. Escaping from diminishing returns <ul><li>What can we do to avoid wasting our efforts on perpetuating doomed systems? How do we construct alternatives? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower your official exposure/profile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decrease your environmental footprint and burn rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid financial arrangements and legal documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rely on personal connections and relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid the mainstream, look for fertile margins, fringes, niches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be hard to classify (use the SEP field to your advantage) </li></ul></ul>
  • 15. Reasonable expectations <ul><ul><li>Money will not be very common or useful (government defaults, growing joblessness, savings wiped out or taxed away, access to imports lost, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As the US loses ability to import 3/4 of transportation fuels, economy will stall and population will become stranded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political system will maintain appearances as long as possible - &amp;quot;Proud and Purposeful Paralysis&amp;quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many local authorities will fail (close police stations and fire departments, stop supplying sewer, water and garbage removal services) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other local authorities will try to charge confiscatory rates, and fail just a little bit later </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Various officious busybodies will have a hard time figuring out whose side they are on, and will probably need help </li></ul></ul>
  • 16. The Big Transition <ul><li>BEFORE </li></ul><ul><li>Cars and trucks </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal water supplies </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal sewage </li></ul><ul><li>Trash removal </li></ul><ul><li>Garbage removal </li></ul><ul><li>Fast food </li></ul><ul><li>Supermarkets </li></ul><ul><li>Hospitals </li></ul><ul><li>High Schools </li></ul><ul><li>Colleges </li></ul><ul><li>Office work </li></ul><ul><li>AFTER </li></ul><ul><li>Bicycles, boats, 2 feet </li></ul><ul><li>Rainwater collection, wells </li></ul><ul><li>Composting toilets </li></ul><ul><li>Local junkyards, incinerators </li></ul><ul><li>Local compost piles </li></ul><ul><li>Community kitchens </li></ul><ul><li>Open-air markets </li></ul><ul><li>Local clinics </li></ul><ul><li>Home Schooling </li></ul><ul><li>Apprenticeships </li></ul><ul><li>Physical labor </li></ul>
  • 17. The future is very unpopular <ul><li>Each resident of North America employs the equivalent of 100 &amp;quot;energy slaves&amp;quot;: services provided by machinery that runs on fossil fuels. But emancipation is at hand! </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People do not like to be persuaded by fact or logical argument </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People like their comforts: cars, HVAC, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People are seduced by TV, consumerism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manual labor and farming are low-status activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People lack the skills to lead a non-mechanized existence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is almost impossible to convince people to do what will be necessary - until it becomes necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It will be almost impossible to do what is necessary without a significant amount of preparation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those who take the trouble to prepare will be a tiny minority </li></ul></ul>
  • 18. The Pre-Collapse Checklist <ul><ul><li>Food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shelter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lighting and communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical care </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transportation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>These have to be provided  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>without access to savings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>without a positive cash flow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>without an official economy </li></ul></ul>
  • 19. Food <ul><ul><li>Enough food to feed a family can be grown on 2000-3000 sq. feet (It takes a bit of practice to get this going.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some foodstuffs (cooking oil, grains, wine, coffee, chocolate) need to be &amp;quot;imported&amp;quot; somehow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A lot of wild foods can be gathered (berries, mushrooms, roots &amp; shoots, nuts, [white] acorns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&amp;quot;Edible Forest Gardens&amp;quot; can be planted on public lands - useful plants surrounded by thorny thickets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community kitchens are more efficient than personal ones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminate all food waste: chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, carp, catfish, crayfish - something out there will eat it all up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nanny goats can provide milk for infants/children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seasonal migration out to the land to grow food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harvests have to be &amp;quot;floated out&amp;quot; (road transport expensive) </li></ul></ul>
  • 20. Water <ul><ul><li>Municipal water = bad risk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flushing with potable water = insanity! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many grades: drinking water, washing water, irrigation water, gray water, &amp;quot;lively&amp;quot; water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sewage is a very bad idea; composting much better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roof rainwater collection, barrels, filters for drinking water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Swales dug into hillsides can boost groundwater </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hot water for washing: rocket stoves fed by brush piles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passive irrigation systems instead of pumps and hoses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Runoff from disused parking lots and other structures can be saved in cisterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flat roofs can be planted with sod to soak up water and keep buildings cool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proper placement of shade trees and evaporation pools can make air conditioning unnecessary </li></ul></ul>
  • 21. Shelter <ul><ul><li>Single-family dwellings are no longer affordable for nuclear families; single-family dwellings become extended-family GULAGs where the residents eventually go insane </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a lot of unused commercial real estate that will belong to nobody in particular once all parties are bankrupt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are a lot of unused shipping containers that are very easy to customize for a wide variety of uses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large structures are cheaper and easier to retrofit for off-grid use than small ones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transportation needs are much reduced if the entire town relocates into the shopping mall and the office park </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basements of demolished suburban houses can be flooded and used for aquaculture, or for tree nurseries, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freed-up land can be used for community agriculture </li></ul></ul>
  • 22. Lighting and Communication <ul><ul><li>Relying on the electric grid - a high-risk, high-cost proposition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping the existing system running through &amp;quot;renewable&amp;quot; means is not achievable, sustainable or renewable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using wind/solar/micro-hydro to power to run AC appliances is an expensive proposition - not affordable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All it takes is 100-200W of solar and/or wind to power a few LED lights, radio, laptop, 2-way radio, cell phone charger, etc. That&apos;s something that can be put together for a few thousand dollars. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It&apos;s all made in China! Yikes! Get yours now! (Install it later.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12V batteries, alternators and voltage regulators will come from scrapped cars/trucks - then what? (Food for thought.) </li></ul></ul>
  • 23. Medical &amp;quot;care&amp;quot; <ul><ul><li>Stay healthy: eat little, mostly vegetables, avoid exercise, but do some physical labor, sleep plenty and get lots of rest, avoid stress, have a sense of humor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid doctors and hospitals (they prescribe toxic drugs, spread disease and deplete family savings) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know how to treat/cure yourself and the people around you - good hygiene, herbs, massage, rest &amp; TLC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For serious medical needs, have a medical evacuation plan in place - to a country with a functioning medical system (Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Russia...) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know when it&apos;s time for you to go (your life isn&apos;t worth half a million to extend by a year or two, no matter who you are - the country can&apos;t afford it) </li></ul></ul>
  • 24. Medical &amp;quot;care&amp;quot; - steer clear of fraud <ul><ul><li>Avoid American medical &amp;quot;care&amp;quot; if at all possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making a profit off of sick people is deeply unethical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health is not insurable. If all houses burned down, there would be no fire insurance. Nobody dies healthy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resist efforts to tie you to a &amp;quot;job&amp;quot; by the threat of cutting off your access to medical &amp;quot;care&amp;quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resist efforts to force you or your family into medical bankruptcy through medical extortion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You have no choice of doctor who isn&apos;t an American doctor and violates the Hippocratic oath by putting financial and legal considerations ahead of what&apos;s good for the patient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And now, you have no choice but to buy federally mandated private health insurance </li></ul></ul>
  • 25. Transportation <ul><ul><li>To recap: 2/3 of transportation fuels are imported, and these entire 2/3 are going away </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Daily trips to town by private motor-car will once again be reserved for the aristocracy (chauffeur not included) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is not much hope for continuation of air travel, air freight or interstate trucking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rail freight could actually be revived at very little cost (much more cost-effective than road freight) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water freight is supremely efficient, especially if by sail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our harbors, bays, sounds, estuaries, rivers and canals are our prime regional transportation assets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many people will be delighted to once again be able to make a living on the water </li></ul></ul>
  • 26. Security <ul><ul><li>One happy family: former military, former prisoners, former police, former government spooks, plus some drug lords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An &amp;quot;online community&amp;quot; is a hacker&apos;s playground </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy pickings: loaners (armed or not), people who can be tracked using their GPS cell phones and other gizmos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard nuts to crack: cohesive communities that deal face to face and are electronically &amp;quot;dark&amp;quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Having a lot of witnesses about makes crime more difficult </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A 24/7 watch/patrol is an excellent idea </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Obvious ideas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surround yourself with people you know </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mistrust electronic communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultivate friendships in places high and low </li></ul></ul>
  • 27. In conclusion <ul><ul><li>Many people can&apos;t be persuaded by either fact or reason. Let&apos;s hope you are not one of them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Running out the clock on our current living arrangement is a bad idea: the longer you wait, the fewer options you will be left with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A rather exciting time to be alive, wouldn&apos;t you say? </li></ul></ul>

×