Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Oil Apocalypse Blogs: 2

What is the scariest aspect of the end of oil?

In my opinion? Food. Our just-in-time food delivery system depends entirely on petroleum. Starving people may not remain pleasant people, especially not when they live in the concentrations of today’s urban centers. England’s little glitch back 10 years ago that resulted in the “nine meals from anarchy” talk gave us a hint of what may well happen at the start of such an event.

Daniel Chase photo via Wikimedia. Before Hurricane Sandy

But food delivery isn’t the only facet of the food system that requires petroleum. Tractors and other farm machinery, tractor tires, insecticides, fertilizers...all require petroleum. Indeed, it was the industrial revolution and petroleum products as applied to farming that resulted in crop yields that caused the world population to explode from 500 million to over 7 billion in just a couple hundred years.

We need to pause from time to time and think about that. 500 million people is probably the carrying capacity of the earth sans oil. That is, this lovely, diverse, rare planet can support/feed only a half a billion homo sapiens. So when oil is gone, there will be at least 7 billion extra starving people (probably 15 billion or more by the time it happens, though drought or disease may have killed several billion first because we have other problems that stem from overpopulation).

So imagine: Fertile land and deer and fish for half a billion, with 15 billion clamoring for food. You can see what’s going to happen. People are going to starve to death...but a few will not do it quietly and politely, darn them. They will kill you to get your food, and if your food is gone, some will kill you to use you as food.

(I’m glad I won’t live to see it.)

Don’t Iran and Saudi Arabia get along really well?

Not according to what I read. I read several policy papers (rather boring research for me, I confess), and of all the local neighbors who might attack Saudi Arabia for its oil in the future, Iran seemed the most likely. Again, I can’t guess at a date, but one day, surely current tensions will come to that. Its impact on oil exports? That I would not begin to try and predict. Worst case scenario for the reader more than likely, is Russia backing Iran (as they likely would) and winning and gaining control over the Saudi Arabian oil fields. The British/US invasion of Iraq was ill-considered and wasteful and got us almost no oil. Our entering this hypothetical Iran-Saudi war, if Russia is a major player, to protect our access to Saudi oil? Absolutely necessary. It’ll probably be couched in some typical lie to appease the masses--WMDs or religion or “evil” leaders or whatever--but it will be entirely about oil and, if we want to keep living as we do, if we want to keep eating, not so much a choice as an imperative.

more next week


  1. I just finished reading Slashed - Oil Apocalypse Book 1 and followed the link at the end of the book to your website. Even though I live off-off grid (meaning not the comfortable off grid living portrayed in the book as I have no refrigeration nor freezer capability and use just small solar lights and 12v DC for my tablet and phone), I can really relate to the comment above about tires. I did a rough count of all the tires required on my small ranch and it is more than 50 not including wheelbarrows or wagons or dollies. The rear backhoe tires alone cost over $1000 each. No way I can prep/stock that many spares (I am poor). Even if it could be affordable many tires even unused start breaking down 5 years after the manufacture date. I am already having to switch over to the more expensive solid tires for the wheelbarrows due to how fast I go through regular tires. Batteries is another area that people don't fully consider, even the rechargeable ones in solar flashlights and lanterns and battery operated tools don't last forever.
    Thanks for writing your books and getting more people thinking about the issues. I wish more people here in the USA would stop taking abundant electricity and water for granted. I won't start ranting about using potable water to flush toilets, ugh...yikes!

    1. thanks for reading -- both the book and blog. Tires and batteries are an issue. Post-collapse, we can make beer at home, but acid-lead batteries are going to be a trick to manufacture, aren't they?

      I appreciate your coming here and speaking out of expertise. I think that everyone who wants to think of themselves as a prepper should take a summer and live that life, or as close to it as one can get, to see what problems there are to it. A summer in an RV in the woods with a couple of solar panels would be mighty instructive to people, don't you think?


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