- In this continuing series, Tim Murray brings cogent points
to Canada and America's ultimate destination if they continue unending
- In a September 28, 2009 piece, in www.countercurrents.org ,
fellow Canadian Peter Goodchild brings the points home as to what North
Americans face with continued population growth.
- "Systemic collapse, societal collapse, the coming
dark age, the great transformation, the coming crash, the post-industrial
age, the long emergency, socioeconomic collapse, the die-off, the tribulation,
the coming anarchy, perhaps even resource wars - there are many names,
and they do not all correspond to exactly the same thing, but there is
a widespread belief that something immense and ominous is happening,"
said Goodchild. "Unlike those of the Aquarian Age, the heralds of
this new era often have impressive academic credentials: they include scientists,
engineers, and historians. The serious beginnings of the concept can be
found in Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Population, Resources, Environment (1970);
Donella H. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (1972); and William R.
Catton, Jr., Overshoot (1980). What all the overlapping theories have in
common can be seen in the titles of those three books.
- "Oil depletion is the most critical aspect in the
systemic collapse of modern civilization, but altogether this collapse
has about 10 principal parts, each with a vaguely causal relationship to
the next. Oil, metals, and electricity are a tightly-knit group, as we
shall see, and no industrial civilization can have one without the others.
As those three disappear, food and fresh water become scarce (fish and
grain supplies per capita have been declining for years, water tables are
falling everywhere, rivers are not reaching the sea). These five can largely
be considered as resource depletion, and the converse of resource depletion
is environmental destruction. Disruption of ecosystems in turn leads to
- "Matters of infrastructure then follow: transportation
and communication. Social structure is next to fail: without roads and
telephones, there can be no government, no education, no large-scale division
of labor. After the above 10 aspects of systemic collapse, there is another
layer, in some respects more psychological or sociological, that we might
call "the 4 Cs." The first three are crime (war and crime will
be indistinguishable, as Robert D. Kaplan explains), cults, and craziness
- the breakdown of traditional law, the tendency toward anti-intellectualism,
the inability to distinguish mental health from mental illness. After that
there is a more general one that is simple chaos, which results in the
pervasive sense that "nothing works anymore."
- "Systemic collapse, in turn, has one overwhelming
cause: world overpopulation. All of the flash-in-the-pan ideas that are
presented as solutions to the modern dilemma - solar power, ethanol, hybrid
cars, desalination, permaculture - have value only as desperate attempts
to solve an underlying problem that has never been addressed in a more
direct manner. American foreign aid, however, has always included only
trivial amounts for family planning; the most powerful country in the world
has done very little to solve the biggest problem in the world."
- Oil Depletion
- "Oil is everything," said Goodchild. "That
is to say, everything in the modern world is dependent on oil. From oil
and other hydrocarbons we get fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, lubricants,
plastic, paint, synthetic fabrics, asphalt, pharmaceuticals, and many other
things. On a more abstract level, we are dependent on oil and other hydrocarbons
for manufacturing, for transportation, for agriculture, for mining, and
for electricity. As the oil disappears, our entire industrial society will
go with it. There will be no means of supporting the billions of people
who now live on this planet. Above all, there will be insufficient food,
and the result will be terrible famine.
- "A vast amount of debate has gone on about "peak
oil," the date at which the world's annual oil production will reach
(or did reach) its maximum and will begin (or did begin) to decline. The
exact numbers are unobtainable, but the situation can perhaps be summarized
by saying that about 20 or 30 major studies have been done, and the consensus
is that the most likely date for "peak oil" is 2008, when about
30 billion barrels were produced. (Perhaps of greater importance is the
fact that oil production per capita peaked much earlier, in 1979.) On the
other side of the peak, however, we are facing a steep drop: 20 billion
barrels in 2020, 15 in 2030, 9 in 2040, 5 in 2050.
- "In the entire world, there are perhaps a trillion
barrels of oil left to extract - which may sound like a lot, but isn't.
When newspapers announce the discovery of a deposit of a billion barrels,
readers are no doubt amazed, but they are not told that such a find is
only two weeks' supply.
- "As the years go by, new oil wells have to be drilled
deeper than the old, because newly discovered deposits are deeper. Those
new deposits are therefore less accessible. But oil is used as a fuel for
the oil drills themselves, and for the exploration. When it takes an entire
barrel of oil to get one barrel of oil out of the ground, as is increasingly
the case, it is a waste of time to continue drilling such a well."
- For more works by Peter Goodchild, visit www.countercurrents.org
- Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents
from the Arctic to the South Pole as well as six times across
the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from
the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming
Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic
clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring
about sensible world population balance atwww.frostywooldridge.com He
is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million
Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715