The Long Emergency - A Prologue
After a strong recommendation (and disclaimer about the sleepless nights that will follow) I have just begun to read The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twentieth Century by James Howard Kunstler. Having read Kunstler's The Geography of Nowhere a few years ago, and considering it among the more intriguing social commentaries of the evolution of the American urban landscape (and one which had significant influence in my developing urban 'ethos'), I look forward to diving into Kunstler's latest undertaking. This time, he states, he will concern himself with what he believes is happening and what will happen or is likely to happen to our lives in the post-industrial decades to come.
"Above all, and most immediately, we face the end of the cheap fossil fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as a benefit to modern life. All the necessities, comforts, luxuries, and miracles of our time - central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lighting, cheap clothing, recorded music, movies, supermarkets, power tools, hip replacement surgery, the national defense, you name it - owe their origins or continued existence in one way or another to cheap fossil fuel... The blandishments of cheap oil and gas were so seductive, and induced such transports of mesmerizing contentment, that we ceased paying attention to the essential nature of these miraculous gifts from the earth: that they exist in finite, nonrenewable supplies, unevenly distributed around the world."
Expect reaction and commentary within the following week...