8 October 2012
Norman Pagett writes:
When our hunter forebears slaughtered an animal for food, they were absorbing energy from its metabolic system into their own. The energy from the dead animal powered a human hunter and his family or tribe for a few days, maybe a week, until they had to go out a kill another energy/source animal.
We may look on their lifestyle and our own as very different, but in reality they are not. We still have to go out and get hold of food, the difference is we’ve managed to get around the messy business of chasing it, killing it, cutting it up and eating it pretty much on the spot. Oh, and using its fur to keep warm.
Our food is delivered, courtesy of the energy in oil
Our lives may be separated by thousands of years, but our motivation is as raw and immediate as yesterday.
A newly killed animal represented available food energy, our distant ancestors devoured it because there was an immediate need of it to sustain life, support the young of the tribe and maintain sufficient strength to go out and kill the next food source when necessary. There was always more food energy to be taken and eaten as necessary.
It was not in our evolutionary interests to sit around eating an animal, and worry about how and where to catch the next one. Our brains developed that way for millions of years; we believed that more food sources would always be out there, and most of the time we were proved right.
So that when headlines scream that oil is in decline, and when it costs too much to get hold of our lifestyle is going to crash, the primeval side of our brain kicks in, and says it can’t be so. We agree with the deniers.
We’re told of a new ‘golden age’ of oil, ‘self sufficiency by 2020’ Oil in the Arctic, trillions of barrels in the oil shales, more gas than we know what to do with. Once again, it is not in our interests to read the small print of what it costs to get hold of this stuff. Oil is oil, trillions of barrels sitting under safe North American territory. We can stop worrying and go back to devouring what we have.
Technology has saved us again.
Well, no it hasn’t, nor will it.
Hydro-fracking in the gigantic Bakken field has hit a problem. Fracking is only possibly if vast amounts of water are available. The drought across the region means that water isn’t there to use, so the fracking process has had to be drastically scaled back. Climate experts are saying that drought is the new normal, so fracking, an expensive way of producing oil at the best of times, is not likely to be viable in the foreseeable future, it also exposes vital underground aquifers to contamination. So drill for oil, but risk losing your water supply.