world-wo-oil1editors-blog-entry3We all know oil is a finite resource but few of us seem to pay much attention to this fundamental fact.

Our basic tendency toward short-term and short-sighted thinking is largely to blame. As individuals, and as a society — and here I’m talking about global society, although I believe short-sightedness is especially extreme in the United States — we rarely think beyond the next year and certainly almost never beyond a five-year horizon.

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There’s plenty of evidence of this short-term — and dangerous — ‘thinking’. I place quotation marks around ‘thinking’ because in many respects, it’s misleading to even call it thinking. It’s really ‘non-thinking.’

For instance, most of the coverage I’ve seen of ‘Peak Oil’ fails to talk about the world’s oil supply beyond a 20- to 30-year horizon. In other words, it never acknowledges that not only is Peak Oil on the horizon, but the End of Oil is also looming. Yes, it’s further away than Peak Oil, but it’s there nonetheless.

The End of Oil is a serious issue, a deadly serious one. Oil is not only integral to global transportation, it’s fundamental to agriculture and food production and distribution. In other words, without oil, global humanity is in serious trouble.

The End of Oil is a serious issue, a deadly serious one. Oil is not only integral to global transportation, it’s fundamental to agriculture and food production and distribution. In other words, without oil, global humanity is in serious trouble.

The fact that oil is integral to so many things beyond powering our cars (albeit in decidedly polluting fashion) is, as I’ve noted elsewhere (‘Energy reasons to solar-charge’), a powerful incentive to conserve oil. And there are few better ways to do this than to switch over our transportation sector from one that relies almost entirely on oil to one that’s powered by renewable energy forms such as solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

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I’ve been dismayed by, but not surprised at, the near total lack of attention to the End of Oil in major media outlets in the U.S. and around the world — at least the ones that I read and watch.

But now it looks like a fairly large news organization, National Geographic, is going to prove me wrong, and show me — and the rest of us — that at least some mainstream news organizations are indeed beginning to look at the inevitable End of Oil. (OK, so National Geographic isn’t as big as CNN or The New York Times, and it’s clearly also an environmentally oriented media organization, but it’s definitely influential and respected.)

As part of what appears to be a rather apocalyptic series of shows called ‘Aftermath’, National Geographic Channel is airing a program called ‘World Without Oil’ on Monday, March 8 (in the U.S.).

Here’s the description:

  • ‘What would our world look like if we ran out of oil? The lifeblood of our high-tech, highly mobile world won’t last forever. Watch one scenario of what happens when one day oil does run out. How might our world change and how would we adapt? Aftermath follows the chaotic days and months after this catastrophic event through dramatic re-creations and CGI animation. Find out how we might cope as food disappears, electrical power fails and winter turns the big cities into isolated pockets of concrete and glass. What will be more important to our survival — the technology to develop new sources of energy, or a change to a more sustainable way of life?’

While it appears that the program might push a bit toward the sensational, it’s nonetheless refreshing to see an influential and widely consumed media outlet going beyond short-sighted talk of ‘Peak Oil’ only to End of Oil as well.

While there’s disagreement about exactly when Peak Oil will occur — many experts believe it is occuring right now — there’s no debate about the fact that oil will eventually run out. Indeed, this will almost certainly occur within the next 100 years, or within the lifetimes of hundreds of millions of human beings currently walking, or crawling ;-), around our planet.

Given the reality of the End of Oil, and given the fact that you, I, and all of us, can do something to ensure it’s not catastrophic — for instance, by solar-charging our cars — it’s about time someone with a little bit more media might than SolarChargedDriving.Com (we try 😉 started focusing our attention on it.

I’m definitely going to tune to ‘World Without Oil’. I hope some of you will as well.

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