'Why are you so negative at TOD?'
Snippet of an online discussion, in which TOD editor offers an Apologia Pro Vita Sua.
theokobox on July 12, 2008 - 7:53am:
Who wouldn't get doomerish reading the articles on this website - the amount of fear mongering and lack of positive imput is a tragedy. Peak oil by nature is a concept only - of course gasoline is going to run out but the attitude with which you approach it can make a huge difference. The general attitude here is depressing if not condesending, and is continuely in a state of proving itself rather then researching solutions and showing people how to live a natural lifestyle.
Prof. Goose on July 12, 2008 - 8:15am
Fearmongering? Lack of positive input?
So, no, we shouldn't attempt to understand the scope of the problems we face so that we can then understand which set of band-aids to attempt to apply?
Surely you are joking.
Let's triage the patient without diagnosing the problem! What would you do if walked into a hospital near death and was told "Sir, you have blood all over you, here's a band-aid for that itty bitty cut on your forehead." You would likely not recover from your wounds.
If you haven't looked around lately and seen what is going on in the world, that is exactly the approach you are advocating.
We offer up hopeful, large scale solutions around here all of the time. We just embrace them as the panaceas that they are not, neither do we embrace individual and government inaction and complacency. Kinda different from your standard media fare, eh?
The general attitude here is clinical and empirical with a graceful touch of concern for humanity thrown in for flavor. It is not condescending: it is educated. It is critical. It is academic. And it is certainly not for everyone.
I take no joy in the success of this site, nor do I take joy in the massive resource inflation we are witnessing--other than that it may be the one thing that could spur alternative fuel and method development. I really want the community writ large to be wrong about all of this. I beg for it every single day, sir.
That's why we started this site: to learn as much as we could, to assemble as much knowledge as we could, in an empirical caring way, and to try to facilitate conversations about these complex, nasty problems.
The people here have learned the facts, and we don't sugar coat them. Frankly, I am immensely proud of this community and its approach to the real problems we face. There are a lot of smart people here thinking hard about what's coming.
Someone has to talk about it, someone needs to do the hard thinking, and someone needs to worry about the effects, especially on those who have less of a voice in our society--the poor, the indigent, the folks who are going to bear the brunt of this first wave of transition. I can't speak for others, but that's why I do this.
I am in a relatively safe seat to watch all of this go down--at least in the early innings. However, ask those increasingly hungry people in Pakistan how they are feeling right about now about ethanol. Ask the people who won't have heat this winter what they think of the resource premium.
This is a human tragedy already.
BrianT on July 12, 2008 - 9:24am
Prof: Congrats on a great site. I realize what the first poster said is very unpopular, however I feel he made a good point. TOD is unlikely to fix the planet-possibly the focus could shift more towards opportunity rather than defeatism. Still a great site-just a minor suggestion, not a criticism.
Prof. Goose on July 12, 2008 - 9:33am
None of us aspire to "fix the planet." No single person, website, or entity for that matter could do so.
However, every single person we educate about our energy situation is another person who has the choice to a) learn, b) prepare according to their own perceptions, and c) educate others.
Do you really think that I keep harping on all of you to spread this site around for my own ego or personal gain? Hell no. It's about facilitating education and conversation for as many as we can.
You see, that's what many do not get: TOD is not about defeatism, instead, TOD is already about opportunity! The opportunity to facilitate as many people as possible making a difference through nontraditional and traditional means.
It needs to happen. The more people learn, the better off we will be. It's that simple.
Prof. Goose is Kyle Saunders, associate professor of political science at Colorado State University. "PG" graces us with a post now and again about energy politics and policy, sociology, and psychology, with a little bit of economics, research methodology, and modeling techniques thrown in for good measure. Behind the scenes, he is the managing editor of the site and attempts to help Super G keep the trains running on time.
TOD staff biographies