Of course it’s threatening to think that our lifestyles, systems of governing, and capitalist processes themselves may all face drastic changes in the not-too-distant future because of the facts and reality of Peak Oil and climate change! I’m certainly not the poster-child for Peak Oil advocacy and lifestyles. I have a very nice, capitalist, well-to-do lifestyle. To hell with all of you, I don’t want MY life to change!
STATING THE OBVIOUS
I’ve noted this on several occasions: I’m willing to wager that almost all those urging greater awareness of the oil production/energy supply challenges we’ll be facing soon enough would be delighted to be proven wrong. None of us are eagerly—or in any other manner—awaiting the onset of the inevitable magnitude of personal, economic, commercial, and cultural changes which our beliefs about peak oil suggest. Being wrong about this would be ideal, but we—I—have serious doubts about that outcome being the likeliest.
There’s too large a group of ardent and well-financed others well aware of the inherent limitations finite resources carry. They more than most appreciate how widespread will be the impact of a diminishing energy supply colliding with increasing demand and a growing worldwide population. They also understand—as do those opposing/denying the facts of climate change—the costs and consequences to their own organizations once their Business As Usual practices succumb to the production facts of these finite resources.
What worries us: the problems will be of such scope and impact and complexity that we strongly believe in a need for planning to take place now—by all of us, both Left and Right—and we’re not seeing enough honest, intelligent, rational analysis from those whose contributions will be every bit as important and meaningful. The ideology sponsoring practical and effective adaptations and solutions won’t matter to us if they work. We just don’t think it’s all that unreasonable to expect that the contributions are grounded in the realities of what we face.
Well-funded denial and misleading campaigns provide no immunity from those harsher outcomes, but another day to pour profits into their coffers is another day of profits poured into their coffers. All other considerations certainly seem secondary.
Regrets may loom. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Few so far. Harsh judgments and condemnations for misleading and misrepresenting are the likelier outcomes, first. Comforted by the realizations of what their strategies and tactics have/have not produced to date, it’s doubtful they give that much—any—thought at the moment. Might be worth doing so….
What’s our vision and expectation for the future? How much longer do we rely on psychological machinations to avoid the facts rather than accept them and find cooperative and communal approaches to deal with realities—unpleasant [or worse] though they may be today?
The effects of Peak Oil (and climate change) don’t lend themselves to being bent into shapes conducive to conservative or liberal ideology. There is no one obvious solution which smacks almost entirely of liberalism (and vice versa) which one “side” can legitimately promote. Too many aspects of our everyday lifestyles—both personal and industrial—will require a broad range of adaptations and transitions well beyond ideological constraints.
THE TRIED AND TRUE [SORT OF]
When coupled with inherent personality and psychological traits characteristic of those on the conservative side of our great political, economic, cultural divide, there are many avenues open—and claimed—to cloud facts. Those efforts protect financial interests as well as ideological and/or psychological ones.
The tactics employed to dismiss, discount, or simply deny the realities of climate change and a peak in the rate of oil production serve as yet more support for what a long history of research and evidence confirms about the characteristics of the conservative personality: an avoidance of any ambiguities; little appetite for nuance or broader discussions; a need for closure—hanging on to the first reasonably valid piece of evidence supporting one’s viewpoint as both the beginning and end of a contentious issue—and the expected vitriol directed at those who disagree, regardless of the reasons or rationales.
Because current environmental problems are in many ways the result of our prevailing socio-economic practices and institutions, to acknowledge such problems is to admit that the status quo may not be entirely legitimate or beneficial. Such an admission directly contradicts system justification needs and tendencies. Thus, the more people are motivated to defend and bolster the existing system, the more likely they will be to deny environmental problems, insofar as these challenge the system’s legitimacy as well as its stability (citations in original quote).
There’s a price for relying on that….Better to understand it all in advance than to be looking in the rear-view mirror and wishing for a do-over.
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Note to readers: In addition to my other blogs and writings at richardturcotte.com, I invite you to enjoy some brief excepts from my eBook political thriller:
The Tretiak Agenda
They began [here] on June 15, and conclude this week
~ My Photo: Good Harbor Beach, MA – 11.02.13
We face a choice going forward. There’s a kind of false dichotomy, a false choice that we’re being presented between policies on the left or policies on the right. It’s not left or right, it’s forward or backward. It’s a choice between investing in the future, leaving a better future for the next generation just like parents and grandparents did for us, or ignoring these hard choices and sentencing the next generation to a lower standard of living, to fewer opportunities, and a future that we could do better by. Former USDOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari
Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows
Peak Oil Matters offers observations and insights about the realities of declining fossil fuel production, and its impact on our future well-being