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The topic of this Martenson Report is one of the most important we will ever cover. My mission is to help you see that change is coming – potentially highly disruptive change – far enough in advance so that the opportunity exists to make gradual changes on your own terms.
- Underlying beliefs can get in the way of action.
- The status quo is unsustainable.
- We face a future filled with "less" on many levels.
- Surplus energy determines social complexity.
- Peak Oil has passed and there is no return to the old economy.
- We still have some choice in how this change plays out.
- We must continue reformulating our beliefs and moving towards action.
Standing in the way of our taking actions are our beliefs, which we have formed over a lifetime of observation. For example, if I show someone forty-two very compelling graphs of Peak Oil, but the person remains unconvinced (as evidenced by their lack of action), I invariably find that they hold an underlying belief which is in conflict with the data. Most often, that belief turns out to be "technology will save us." This is a powerful belief, because it has been reinforced by a lifetime filled with the most exceptional technological progress ever seen in human history. So it won’t matter if I show that person one graph, or ten, or forty-two, or a hundred. That stuff is just data. We take actions based on our beliefs. But if a belief is in conflict with data, the belief wins every time.
Every day I try to convince people that one era is drawing to a close and a new era is beginning. The lure of the old way is very strong. It is constantly reinforced by a media machine and an interlocking institutional framework that are fully dedicated to preserving the status quo.
From my point of view, the status quo does not have a future. It was unsustainable from the start, and even if we manage to resuscitate it for a few more years, nothing will change that fact. Worse, every attempt to sustain the unsustainable results in squandering our precious remaining time and resources, which means that with these attempts, we relegate ourselves and our children to a future of decreased prosperity.
Our economy is in crisis, and Peak Oil may well have arrived. While the potential link between these two situations can be debated, there is absolutely no doubt that declining surplus energy will greatly complicate and almost certainly thwart any possible return to "how things were."
Assuming Peak Oil came and went in 2008, I can envision no possible way for the world economy to grow past its former levels. It could only do that if we were already reaping the fruits of a crash program in energy efficiency that had been implemented some years back. Unfortunately no such program is even on the drawing boards today let alone begun when it could have done some good.