2005-04-06 21:43 - General
I've intuitively known for a long time that the crude oil that drives nearly our entire modern lives is a finite resource. Human society is consuiming it at a faster and faster pace, and despite it all the earth still takes eons to produce it. So it's going to run out, quick.
I never knew, exactly or even approximately, how much oil there was in the world, how much we use, what the trend of use was, etc. But it is something that's bothered me in the back of my mind for a while. Then I discovered the Peak Oil web site. And I'm scared.
See, I knew as well as fuel we get many other things from crude oil. But the truly major one is plastic. Just try to imagine life in the USA without plastic. Sure, perhaps 100 years ago it was just the pipe dream of a chemist. But nowadays, you can't open your eyes and not see plastic. Practically every company in existance has a policy to consume (meaning use and destroy!) plastic in mass quantities.
Plastic's good stuff. But human beings are terrible animals. We should know better, but we are so wasteful it is sickening. And if Peak Oil is right, the oil fallout could be only a few years away. Of course, transportation will crumble. Imagine all the American yuppies who have to part with their dear SUVs. Imagine all the companies that can't give out plastic knives and forks. But it gets much worse. Sterile syringes and countless other medical devices, gone. Food packaging will suffer horribly. Disease will probably come back in a big way, with a lot of places we're used to being totally sterile suddenly open and susceptible.
It's coming. It's only a matter of when. The world (as we know it) will almost fall apart. It's quite scary.