Thursday, August 03, 2006
The Long Emergency
The Long Emergency is the term given to a series of converging catastrophic events identified by author and analyst James Howard Kunstler.
His book, written in early 2005, describes the world events brought about during the age of cheap oil, and the likely consequences for all of us, as we now move inexorably into an era where oil is no longer cheap.
Kunstler examines world history over the period of the last 200 years, and identifies the processes and events that brought about a world economy fuelled by and entirely reliant on continuing supplies of fossil fuels.
World oil production is in terminal decline. Natural gas reserves have already peaked and yet we are all still "sleepwalking into the future" - a future without oil.
Kunstler focusses mainly on the suburban American lifestyle and the effects that a forthcoming oil shortage will have on it, but for anyone reading this book in the western world, the outcome is likely to be the same.
Depressing, fatalistic and apocalyptic, Kunstler's examination of the modern oil dependant lifestyle, reveals the truth about the route we took to get to this situation, and points out that the options for our exit strategy are extremely limited.
The Long Emergency was a gripping read. I can recommend it to anyone who wants to awaken from a century of sonambulism.