There is no magic formula to avoid the consequences of peak oil. What we can do (as individuals and as a society) is to try to minimize their effects. From the various actions usually proposed, I’d like to point two: reforestation and awareness.
About the first one, It is worth to have in mind that, in the future, we will be poorer. Not only we will be poor as individuals, but also as a country. And poverty is a trap difficult to get away from. But as a country, there is one thing worse than being poor: to be poor and deforested. Erosion, loss of fresh water, loss of raw materials, and loss of biodiversity are some of the dire consequences that will affect us when our countryside is deforested. In fact, one of the fastest ways to a sustainable agriculture is the combination of crops, shrubs and trees (Agroforestry). The prospect of a near-future poverty makes protection of the environment an essential task to increase our chance of a dignified existence as a society.
The primary objective of the Oil Crash Observatory is to increase the awareness of the social impact of the inevitable depletion of fossil fuels. But as shocking as it may seem, the present age of communication coexists with an unprecedented age of ignorance. We have access to electricity, computers, smart-phones, etc. but little knowledge of where they come from, how do they work, or how to repair them. And this strongly relates with environmental unprotection.
If you do not know where, or how, or who manufactured what we use, eat, drink or wear, how can be be aware of the environmental impact of our way of life ? It escapes us. And it will always escape us.
As The Guardian echoes in a story on April 16, 2014, it had never been so important to protect the environment around the world, but it has never been so deadly. In the last decade, the number of killings of activists defending the environment has multiplied by three. In 2002. 51 activists were killed. During year 2012, they were 147. During ten years, almost 1000 activists have died or disappeared while denouncing deforestation, destruction or looting of their local natural resources. Only 10 cases have been tried.
These figures take away any funny note from the fact that every American needs more than 19 tons of raw materials to maintain their standard of living. What about us ? Do we understand what is behind our mundane activities? Where comes the fuel of our car from? How was generated the electricity that moves our trains? Where come the lunch chicken breasts from? And the vegetables of our salads? Who made our phone? Where goes our electronic waste? Where the plastic and cigarrette butts go when thown in the floor? Why are so many chemicals in shampoo?
Indeed, the fact that we do not know the answers to such kind of questions is one of the reasons why media explain so little about the impunity with which well-known multinational are plundering the resources from other parts of the world, but also about the impunity of the measures used to silence such plundering. Awareness of how we live is the first step to protect both environment and environmentalists.
For more information: Global Witness.