A few months ago waves of information about a theory called “Peak Oil” started to reveal a potential nightmare upon my computer desktop. Tom Pickens, a fellow apparently immersed in oil production statistics on a daily basis at his home south of Campbellford, gave a seminar to interested citizens one evening in the Campbellford Library. Regular information sessions are still going on with the focus now on how to survive the coming dearth of cheap oil. Tom’s theory is that small communities have the best chance of surviving social chaos which will come along with expensive fuel. They will be nothing like the communities we know today. You had better start brushing up on some basic gardening skills right away.
The premise is this: Crude oil locked under the crust of our Earth is a finite resource. The easy-to-access, and therefore cheap reserves, have all been tapped and some are depleted. Production is in decline. Each barrel of oil gets progressively more expensive to extract. If you have been filling up a car gas tank lately you would have to believe there may be some merit in this forecast for our future.
With consciousness of this scenario in wide circulation I figured it was only a matter of time before somebody knocked off a quick novel on a future world without gasoline. The next logical step would be for Hollywood to weave in a love story and make another Doomsday movie to scare us all into a food-hoarding frenzy. When I first heard of the movie The Day After Tomorrow, which screened at the Aron Cinema in Campbellford last week, my first thought was. “I must be behind the curve. Someone has already made the film.” From promotional trailers for the movie, chaos, death and destruction appeared to be in as abundant a supply as always.
I satisfied my curiosity about this film last week. But it wasn’t about the end of the internal combustion engine world as we know it. It was about drastic, almost immediate climate change. Using computer forecasts which have warming of the Earth’s atmosphere from human resource abuse melting the polar ice caps, which pours fresh water into salty seas, thus changing current patterns, the next Ice Age is triggered. Astronauts on the space station have a bird’s eye view of gigantic storms which cover the entire Earth. Quantum tornadoes suck super-cooled air down from the troposhpere, flash freezing everything. Tsunami waves flooding New York City, with no Twin Towers on the skyline, make man’s own efforts to annihilate himself seem puny by comparison. It is a plausible, somewhat horrifying movie.
Parallels with the current U.S. administration are unmistakable. The VP is a Dick Cheney double in denial. The president is a good looking goof who hangs around his office doing nothing until it is too late and perishes in the big freeze. But the writers try to get a message across. When “Cheney” becomes president he finally “gets it,” and chastizes humanity for abusing the Earth for so many centuries. Of course the hero, driving a Prius electric/gas hybrid car, does his best to convince politicians for the need to evacuate the U.S., southward into Mexico. Fortunately, most survivors had gas in their cars to drive south.