The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Monday, July 18, 2005

Reactions to Peak Oil Email

I would like to share the range of reactions to my letter to my friends and family about peak oil.

They went from dismissive / I know better:

  1. You have it backwards.The way capitalism works is that oil hits $100 a barrel AND THEN we start reducing energy usage and looking for alternatives.
  2. what about central Asia? Sounds like there might be more oil there than anyone previously thought.

To appreciative:

  1. That's very interesting stuff. I remember an economics course that I took in college and the prof was always stressing the scarcity of oil (and of fresh drinking water) and how artificially low the US oil prices are. I'll continue to check the sites you mentioned. Thanks again!

To denial:

  1. I'm really not at all worried. If gas gets too high I'll simply ride my bike more, walk whenever possible, loose weight and be happy I'm not working at a job which requires my using my car for transportation.
  2. I don't even look anymore when I buy gas. Why get upset over something I have no control of.

To confusion:

  1. Perhaps this peak is a temporary (although not final) one? Not questioning the general logic of your argument -- just the timing.

Interesting reactions. When I talk about this with people, they just say basically I'll worry about it when it starts to affect my life, which it isn't now. What a short term perspective! These are the same people that will feel free to be very angry about this when it does.

Sometimes I fear the boiling lobster effect where we don't even realize that something very bad is happening because it happens so slowly we barely recognize the day to day changes. The awareness side of the peak oil is going to take time, it's going to take some pain, and there will eventually have to be some major event (probably an actual shortage caused by a natural disaster or terrorist attack) that sparks public attention. That's unfortunately the way humans behave - complacency until panic.


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