"Life as we know it is about to...."
You know how you hear stories about people's lives changing in the blink of an eye?
That's what happened to me when I learned that the world is on the verge of its peak oil production in my English class at the University of Southern Maine, Portland.
As an artist, the oil I think about most is made for painting. But the paper I was assigned was about the oil we use as a source of energy.
I hadn't really given a second thought to that type of oil. I didn't realize just how crucial it is to our survival and to the things we depend on every day.
There is a big threat that soon, we'll be using more than we can find.
This predicament is called global oil-production peak.
What is global oil-production peak?The oil will run out some day, but there are conflicting views on when we'll reach peak oil.
More commonly called peak oil, global oil production peak refers to a time when oil production all over the world no longer will be able to meet our energy needs. Production will have reached its peak and begun to decline.
When we say we'll have reached our peak, that doesn't mean we'll run out of oil, but run out of cheap oil. It's the halfway point of all oil reserves, when production becomes ever more likely to decline.
As oil companies look farther and deeper for oil, it will take more money and energy to extract and refine it. When it takes the energy of a barrel of oil to extract a barrel of oil, then further extraction is senseless.
A barrel of oil: what for?
What does peak oil mean to us?
Reaching oil production peak means we'll have to live with less oil—and it's something that's going to happen sooner than later.
What does this mean to you and me? It means big changes in the way we live our everyday lives.
How big a change?What about alternative energy?
How will our lives change? I'm preparing for dramatically.
Science Applications International Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Va., did a study on the global oil production peak and stated that the peak is going to be "an unprecedented risk management problem," and "extremely complex" to fix, "involving literally trillions of dollars" and "years of intense effort."
Once the peak occurs, transporting goods will become less common. Communities will have to rely on produce their own food.
Keeping warm will rank high on one's list of priorities to survive, notes David Price, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., author of "Energy and Human Evolution."
Oil consumption even affects:
- Health care, because the money won't be there to fund research
- Education, because budgets are likely to be cut to compensate for energy costs
- Our water security because of the close link between water sources and energy security.
It's not going to be a matter of not being able to drive to the mall. It's going to be a matter of not being able to feed your children.What's scary is the uncertainty of our plans for the effects of peak oil...