April 7th, 2001

Pacific Gas & Electric Files for Bankruptcy!!

Yesterday, one of the largest gas and electrical utility companies in the nation filed for protection under the Federal bankruptcy law. Gasoline inventories are at an all time low and we are warned that the price of gasoline for our automobiles may exceed $2.50/gallon by summer.

Californians have been warned that they face major increases in their cost of energy in the next few months and these increases are here to stay.

Businesses in California state they must pass their increased costs of energy onto their customers in the form of significant price increases for all products. California already has the highest cost of living of any state in the nation.

Wake up America! The fossil fuel energy crisis is here now and it is real.

Recently, the electrical power crisis in California has drawn national and world attention to a shortage of crude oil and natural gas. These fossil fuels are currently the primary source of the cheap energy that powers our modern Industrial Civilization.

If we are running out of crude oil and natural gas, as some of the best scientists and engineers in the Energy field are telling us,  we have big problems. 

Only two hundred years ago, the year 1801, was a time when there was no gasoline, no oil, no natural gas, and no electrical power derived from oil and gas.

As a thought experiment, try to  imagine life as it was at the beginning of the 19th century. What would your day be like if you had to return to that era? How would the lack of petroleum affect your lifestyle?

While we might accurately imagine the loss of cheap energy from petroleum, most of us would overlook the 70,000 products that are manufactured using petroleum as a raw feedstock. This includes plastics, acrylics, cosmetics, paints, varnishes, asphalts, fertilizers, medications, etc., etc., etc..

Now, in addition to your loss of cheap energy and 70,000 products that you have come to depend on, imagine sharing that impoverished Earth with six billion other humans?

As America begins looking for solutions, everyone, this includes government, business, and consumers, is assuming that we need more energy.

This is the very opposite of what we need. The only viable solution for the fossil fuel energy crisis is to develop a life style that requires much less energy.

How much less?

We will need to reduce our energy use to less than 10% of current levels. This can be done if we choose to reorganize our society. How we might begin this process of reorganization is addressed in my paper Synergic Consumption.

I am convinced that we can transcend this crisis and survive, but it will require nothing less than transforming our society. Making money as our highest societal value will have to go away. Our highest societal value will have to become working together.

Timothy

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