Friday, July 01, 2011

oil population food the main cause of collapse

As we are facing one of biggest risks to society, I am interested in how we have got to this position. The current situation is that there are to many people to support based on current resources that we have.

The risks are that financial systems are facing collapse, increase in natural disasters and food/water security. This has been caused by more people needing more resources to meet their increasing expected needs.

For me the reason why there are so many more people in this world is the access to more food because of petroleum and mass transport. World population growth really started to move vertically around the 1920's when availability of cars from Henry Ford and petrol became more readily available.

First oil/gas is very important to food production in terms of farming the land, fertilizer and processing goods from lands in large Farms. Transport is needed to move the goods from area of low population density to large population density.

Before the 1920's more food was produced locally and because of cheap access to oil and vehicles it meant that people did not have to live close to where food is produced. This led to larger urban areas and less chance of drought wiping out populations as food could be moved easily between large populations. It also meant people had more freedom to relocate to different areas.

We are now at a stage of Peak Oil. Peak Oil has reached us in around 2006 and is around 70 million barrels a day. So the amount of barrels of oil being produced will only get smaller going forward. Oil is the driver of financial growth in all major western countries. Majority of economic principles that are currently being used is on the assumption that future growth will pay off current debts to sustain us. This concept is what is going to cause the financial collapse of countries that are dependent on oil products for future growth i.e transport, services, agricultural and manufacturing. The reality is I can't think of many communities that are not dependent on oil except maybe the highlanders of Papua New Guinea.

As populations are still growing vertically there won't be enough fuel to produce food and transport the food to them. The issue is not only the growing population of people, but their expectations have also increased to goods and services that require significant amount of fuel to produce. No longer interested in eating bread or rice but food from restaurants and fast food takeaways. No longer interested in sitting around and talking but wanting to go to events and indulge in tv and computer based activities.

Yesterday we bought three chickens for the cost of less then half an hours work for normal worker. The ability to do that just doesn't seem right, so there is something totally out of whack. I wonder in ten years time the effort it will take to raise those three chickens and then pluck them. I have three boys that play sport and spend around three to four hours a week driving them to their sporting events. Its amazing to me to compare the amount of fuel based activities/products/services we consumed in Fiji compared to now in Australia.

The world is telling us through natural disasters that it can't take excessive plundering that we are doing to its resources. The economies of the world are starting to show how they cannot pay the debt needed to live in a fuel dependent life. There are even more so called developed countries that have populations whose food security is now being threatened.

So where to for now. How can we have a controlled withdrawal from oil without causing great wars and famine. Really if we want all of us to survive we are going to have to really cut down on the use of oil where the main use will have to be for food. Financial consequences seem to be one of the best deterrents so their has to be large taxes for activities that use oil besides producing and transporting food. I can't see it working though.

So in the end it just might be better just to let it fail and let God decide.

Sometimes I think I am crazy thinking these things and it might be better to just enjoy things while life is good. But my gut is saying we need to save the planet.


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