The Billings Outpost

Double realities approaching

I just came from seeing Mark Mathis’ film “SpOILed: The Movie,” about the coming reality of peak oil.

Mr. Mathis makes clear that Americans are “spOILed” as he illustrates the benefits of our oil economy: sanitation, extraordinary mobility of people and goods, plentiful global food, computers, toys, entertainment and amenities galore, all dependent on liquid fuel.

Peak oil means that we have a few decades to prepare for life without the huge quantities of energy we currently consume. This is the best case scenario, sans geopolitical or natural disaster shocks, disregarding the rapidly growing global demands for oil. The actual end of the oil party, when we have to face the new reality, could come in 10 years, or next week.

Mathis advocates drilling as much as possible to buy time to develop alternatives to petroleum liquid fuel. Strange that he completely neglects the other reality: American waste of such a precious commodity.  We wallow in the trivial, pour oil into landfills in the form of plastic packaging and doodads and burn oil in pursuit of fun and thrills. Mr. Mathis says we are “spOILed” but fails to draw the obvious conclusion: In an oil-constrained world we will be making choices between the unnecessary and life’s essentials.

He says it will take decades to develop alternative liquid fuels. He fails to acknowledge they will never support our wasteful lifestyle.   Why doesn’t Mr. Mathis recommend that we develop NOW efficiencies, conservation habits, and lifestyles to stretch our oil supplies AND build a less energy-intensive civilization? Doing so now is difficult; waiting until it is forced on us will bring economic and social cataclysm. Will we prepare ourselves for the double realities approaching us, we know not when?

Mary E. Fitzpatrick

Billings

 

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