The Long Emergency

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Even Rolling Stone gets it. The Long Emergency is a harsh look at what is going to happen to our country and our planet when the supply of cheap oil goes away. Look, I’m not some sort of Luddite or cultural critic, but our way of life is going away, and much sooner than people realize. There is a gigantic energy crunch coming, and the effects of this global brown out will be devastating.

6 thoughts on “The Long Emergency

  1. Jimbo

    In the world I see you’re stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You’ll wear leather clothes that will last you thte rest of your life. You’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. When you look down you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stips of vennison in the empty carpool lanes of some abandoned super-highway.

    Feel better champ. Someday this war’s gonna end.

  2. Merm

    Wasn’t the Unabomber’s manifesto filled with these kinds of warnings and railings against the industrial revolution? I haven’t read the whole thing. (I can’t stay with his ramblings.) But still, when I first heard about his message (even though he was crazy for thinking he could solve the problems by killing) I had to stop and think about it. The industrial revolution seems to have created as many problems as it has solved. And this industrial revolution has been powered by cheap fuel.

    What Kunstler is saying confirms something that I’ve been wondering about all along. How is our present lifestyle progress from past lifestyles when a community was made up of people who provided services to help each other, and everyone was almost in walking distance from the things they needed for daily living. I don’t like the concept of suburbia. I live there now. I don’t even know my neighbors (except to wave hello or good-bye as we’re driving into our garages to and from work). But I know a community can be better than this. I’ve lived in communities in Germany where we could walk anywhere we needed to. And consequently, we were going slow enough to know our neighbors. Bread was being made at the corner bakery. The wheat that grew the bread was growing with other crops just on the outskirts of the town. Meat was raised near the place it was slaughtered and prepared for selling. There was no need for preservatives or plastic packaging (which is a whole other can of worms) to stabilize food so that it can be trucked or shipped long distances. Each family had their own garden plot to contribute to their own food supply, and so on.

    There are so many ramifications to our present lifestyle that is based on cheap fuel. Families who’ve moved away from each other leaving the young with no sense of history, no appreciation for the elderly, no support in times of trouble, all because it’s been so easy to do.

    Kunstler provides some ideas of what needs to happen in order for our society to work (moving back to self-sufficient communities). But he doesn’t provide any suggestions on how to get there.

    How many voices like his are out there and in places they need to be, in legislation for instance? From where I sit? None.

  3. CC

    I’m sometimes amazed at the amount of waste we generate to live a convenient life. Of course I take my own share of blame for this when my vitamins come in a big plastic jar to be buried somewhere out of sight because it is too much trouble or too expensive to seek out fresh fruits and vegetables shipped from Peru to fuel this nonsensical chemical electric pipe organ in my head. Maybe more precious oil will curb triple-bagging at the Kroger, stop the manufacture of disposble CDs, and slow the storage of junked cars behind acres of tin fences.

    As the illustrious Ben Harper said, when you have everything you have everything to lose.

    When our backs are against the bricks I’d like to think we’ll overcome this challenge. I volunteer to be village brewer. Anybody got a village?

  4. Anonymous

    oh yes. capitalism, consumerism, commercialism…(let’s not forget christianity in there somewhere, as they all work together so well..). don’t the 3 (or 4) C’s give us so much balance in the world?? indeed, where 10% of the global population lives in taken -for-granted, unecessary affluence while 90% are raped and pillaged in the name of the 3 (or 4) C’s that prescribe economic and political sanctions (and bombs!)…
    aye, “you are either with us, or aginst us”. cuz our way is the only and right way…..


    don’t get me started.

    and thank you tomas, and merm and cc for your angles…. (not ankles, not uncles, angles). touche’

  5. Merm

    I looked around on the net for reactions to Kunstler’s book and found an interview. He mentions how European communities, including Great Britain won’t feel the effects of the “no more cheap fuel” as much as we will in the US because fuel is already expensive, and the people there rely much more on mass transit. I’m thinking that many of the Asian countries won’t either, such as the Philippines where most people can’t afford cars anyway. Of course the province communities are going to be a lot better off than places like Manila. Yes, CC, occupations will change as well. I think I’ve still got a job as a teacher in this new community. But, maybe I’ll be teaching a wide range of ages of students who live in walking proximity as we won’t be able to bus the students in anymore. Back to the one-room schoolhouse….alright, back to present day life. The link to that interview follows.

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