for years I’ve tried to classify the difference between peaknik and doomer in the peak oil world. Well the concerns of peak oil, global warming, biodiversity loss, ecosystem services damage, fisheries depletion, economic implosion, industrial waste, in short… environmental and economic sustainability, are all converging at such crucial junctures that the peak oil labels hardly matter any more because we are all talking about the same thing: what are we doing to do to survive the next few decades with some semblance of law and order intact?
Worldchanging author Alex Steffen has classified the difference between “Bright Green”, “Light Green”, “Dark Green” and “Gray”. I have to say I like it.
He fully understands the risks, but sees the solutions. We do need radical change across the board, both technological, economic, cultural (especially in regards to population management policies like neutral immigration laws), systems, design, cityscapes, etc. Almost every human endeavour is going to be shaped by the massive changes required to ensure a sustainable world for our kids. I’m personally fairly sure this is not going to occur without significant pain akin to a “Greater Depression”, but I’m still completely against the doomer meme that prophecies 5 billion of us starving to death as the oil runs out.
This dieoff.com meme had tragic consequences for one Australian family. A young man discovered Lifeaftertheoilcrash.net, the same site that sent me over the edge nearly 5 years ago. He then spent days and days studying peak oil, and corresponding with the doomer email list ROEOZ. The father informs me that he decided to leave “this suicide civilization” and committed suicide.
I have often ranted that doomerism either led to an “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” mindset, where we may as well just party up big time whle we could, or it could lead to such deep despair that believers could be prompted to feel life just wasn’t worth the struggle. The doomer mindset that reigns at ROEOZ is definitely one of the contributing factors in this case. It is not necessarily the cause. Anyone could just as easily turn around and blame our government for depressing the “peak oil aware” by their blatant denial and inaction to date. Political denial is still something I find surreal and frustrating, and now in a cynical way, kind of entertaining. I can’t really believe that we are this close to the final oil crisis and nothing substantive has been done.
But the doomers must come to terms with the fact that their late night ghost stories do not always function as “risk management scenarios” but can sometimes backfire, tragically. My heart goes out to the family.