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“My name is Randy, and I’m addicted to oil.”
Ian Demsky, Willamette Week Online,
It’s the end of the world as he knows it and Randy White feels fine (sort of).
He dragged a seat up to the 40 or so addicts who sat in a circle of folding chairs on the Smurf-blue linoleum.
Over the past year or so, White, 29, has gotten serious about throwing off the trappings of his old lifestyle, the habits that drove him to use more and more of the stuff, but it hasn’t been easy.
By his own admission, White is still hopelessly hooked. It’s hard, he confides, when almost everyone you know—even your wife—is strung out, too.
Randy White is addicted to oil.
Then again, he would say, so are the rest of us. At least he’s trying to do something about it.
“I’m the guy waving his arms saying, ‘Hey, wake up! This is important!'” White says.
The meeting was the weekly gathering of a group called Portland Peak Oil, a ragtag assembly of greenies, neighborhood-association activists and business professionals who agree with George W. Bush on one thing—that “America is addicted to oil.”
(22 February 2006)
One of the best articles to show the human side of peak oil activism. -BA
Thinking seriously: about energy and oil’s future
James Schlesinger, The National Interest
THE RUN-UP in gasoline and other energy prices–with its impact on consumers’ purchasing power–has captured the public’s attention after two decades of relative quiescence. Though energy mavens argue energy issues endlessly, it is only a sharp rise in price that captures the public’s attention. A perfect storm–a combination of the near-exhaustion of OPEC’s spare capacity, serious infrastructure problems (most notably insufficient refining capacity) and the battering that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita inflicted on the Gulf Coast have driven up the prices of oil and oil products beyond what OPEC can control–and beyond what responsible members of the cartel prefer. They, too, see the potential for worldwide recession and recognize that it runs counter to their interests. But the impact is not limited to economic effects. Those rising domestic energy prices and the costs of fixing the damage caused by Katrina have weakened public support for the task of stabilizing Iraq, thereby potentially having a major impact on our foreign policy.
What is the cause of the run-up in energy prices? Is the cause short term (cyclical) or long term? Though the debate continues, the answer is both.
James Schlesinger is chairman of the Advisory Council of The National Interest. He has served as secretary of defense, secretary of energy and director of central intelligence. He is currently chairman of the MITRE Corporation.
The article on the National Interest website is subscribers-only. An online version is available here.
Related: Schlesinger on energy (Washington Times)
Good analysis in a respected journal of conservative thought. To my mind, the main flaw in analysis of Schlesinger and most other national security thinkers is the omission of global warming. The science behind climate change is becoming more conclusive, and the findings are becoming more pessimistic. Strategies for dealing with climate change considerably reduce the freedom of action for dealing with energy shortages (for example, drawing upon the abundant supplies of coal would exacerbate climate change). -BA
The West striving for a new age of energy
Walid Khadduri, Al-Hayat
From the heads of the Western industrialized countries, like George Bush, to the numerous repeated statements made by presidents and ministers at the G8 summit to the current daily reports and news in Western media outlets, the same clear message is conveyed: hydrocarbon, mainly oil will be soon replaced by renewable and clean energy (hydrogen, wind, sun, atom).
Indeed, the world is unlikely to embrace such renewable energy in the foreseeable future. The road ahead is still long; many decades will slip by before this historical transformation takes hold and before oil is totally replaced in means of transport. But efforts are underway to change mentalities and incite the public to gradually accept this idea. Now, the political, economic, and media climate is being prepared for this historical leap.
…The Western industrialized countries have set the agenda for the next decades – with the sky-high prices providing the needed impetus to push this agenda forward and to put it high on the Western priorities.
Finally, such policy relies on one basis: the “dire” polluted oil and the instability prevailing in the producing countries, let alone the need for developing renewable and clean energy alternatives. Similarly, these Western calls do not come out of nothing. By contrast, they depend on studies, researches, and policies discussed and reviewed over the years by experts in specialized institutes before being later submitted to politicians. In the Arab countries where economies chiefly depend on oil, no institute is surprisingly established to examine energy-related issues and the means to take up the current international challenges.
*Dr Walid Khadduri is an energy expert and Director of Al-Hayat business desk
(22 February 2006)
According to Al-Hayat’s website
Al Hayat is the foremost international daily newspaper for the Arab-speaking market. Its objective reporting and independent point view has enhanced its reputation as the most authoritative and respected voice in the Arab press and the yard stick by which other Arab newspapers are measured.
Wake up America: we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto
Steve Bhaerman, Op Ed News
Have you ever had a dream like this? You’re cruising on the freeway, and you hit the brakes to slow down — and nothing happens. Then you go to turn the steering wheel, and once again you have no control. You try the gas. Same thing. None of the control mechanisms are working, and you are helplessly careening down the freeway in an out-of-control vehicle. At that point, you usually wake up.
Well it’s time to wake up, America.
… Aside from the real massive problems we face if we would only face them — peak oil and global warming, and a house-of-cards economy where the Chinese hold the strongest hand — we face the gravest political and moral crisis in our history.
… What we humans are being called to is no less than an evolutionary step toward really giving our professed “faith” a run for its money. We are being called out from behind petty and ancient feuds, unconscious “miasmic” patterns that have thwarted us for centuries. We are being called out from behind the remote, away from reality TV, and towards reality. We are being asked to take the “red pill,” and emerge from the matrix of machine-made illusion and cultivate the “tree of life” right here in the so-called “real world.”
In this evolutionary mission, we have more going for us than we think. We have the teachings and techniques of great spiritual paths and masters, many just recently liberated from secrecy. We have technical know-how, and those most extraordinary of human resources, imagination and curiosity. We have worldwide networks of communication. And of course, we have the force of necessity, the Mother of all reasons to change and change now.
On the other side, the main weapons they have are fear and force.
… If all this sounds “idealistic,” remember that we are rapidly approaching the point where the ideal must become the real deal — otherwise, when it comes to human life on the planet, it’s no deal.
Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and uncommontator who’s been posing as cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda for the past 20 years. As the Swami, Steve is the author of four books including his latest, Swami for Precedent: A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction. His website is www.wakeuplaughing.com .
(22 February 2006)
Another humorist (like Robert Newman) who has become serious about peak oil, US politics, etc.