By Tony Davenport
October 14, 2008
[Editors Note: This article was originally published on page 16 of the S. African Sunday Independent on October 12, 2008]
It is not as bad as you might imagine – it’s worse, and before you bury your heads in the sands of collective denial, please consider how it is coming about. The truth will set you free, but first it will probably make you ill.
We have had it too easy with cheap energy for a century and the cheap part is going to disappear. Quickly. Energy is the ubiquitous part of everything we consume, and liquid fuel is getting scarce.
The easy part is to understand how we got to where we are. The difficult part is predicting how we can possibly manage to make our way out of this one. It will draw on our deepest resolve and wisdom, and probably require a “Copernican” shift in our thinking (Copernicus was the first astronomer to prove scientifically that the sun rather than the Earth was at the centre of our cosmic system).
We seem to have scientific prowess, but there’s no time for self-congratulation. This time the solutions are the cause of a much bigger problem. Our current pursuit of growth and the elevation of human material wants above all else are the raison d’être of the problem. We promote consumption and ignore efficiency. We live as though there is no tomorrow, and the way we are going there probably won’t be.