The Crash Course


The Environment: Increasing Waste - Crash Course Chapter 24

We are killing the ecosystems we depend on
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:54 PM

Following up on the previous chapter focusing on human-caused resource depletion, the other disheartening part of the story of the environment concerns the things we humans put back into it, and the impact they have on the ecosystems that support all of life -- ours included.

Like the economy, ecosystems are complex systems.  That means that they owe their complexity and order to energy flows and, most importantly, they are inherently unpredictable.  How they will respond to the change by a thousand rapid insults is unknown and literally unknowable. » Read more


The Really, Really Big Picture

There isn't going to be enough net energy
Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 8:54 PM

[Many longtime followers of the Crash Course have asked Chris to update his forecasts for Peak Oil in light of the production increases in shale oil and gas over recent years. What started out as a modest effort at clarification morphed into a much more massive 3-report treatise as Chris sifted through mountains of new data that ultimately left him more convinced than ever we are facing a global net energy crisis despite misguided media efforts intended to convince us otherwise. His reports are being released in series over the next several weeks; the first installment is below.]

There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook.  These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike.  The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.

This series of reports will assemble the relevant data into a simple and easy-to-understand story that has the appropriate context to provide a meaningful place to begin a conversation and make decisions. » Read more