Three Es

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Creating a World Worth Inheriting

A fresh look at our mission
Friday, August 10, 2012, 2:44 PM

With a new site and a number of new irons in the fire, Adam and I thought it a good time to revisit and renew the mission behind this movement.

Simply put, our mission is to create a world worth inheriting.  By this we mean a clean, healthy living environment, a durable economy, and prosperous opportunities for all who participate with us. That's our big, lofty aim. 

At heart, our view is that our policies, uses, and practices in all of the Three “E”s are unsustainable.  One cannot forever grow non-renewable resource use in a finite world.  The exponential nature of that growth just hastens things along.

Because of hard constraints, our exponential money and debt systems are on a collision course with reality.  We will first and most immediately -- and personally -- experience the deleterious effects of this in what we call 'the economy' in the form of stagnant growth, rising unemployment, and various ills and maladies within the financial markets. 

This is just another way of saying that very big changes are coming our way.  In fact, they are here already.

The simple conclusion is that we must either change our habits and ways on our own terms -- or on Nature's.  We face a future that will be shaped either by disaster or design.

Here at Peak Prosperity, we are solidly behind the idea of positive change made on our own terms and that we are each responsible for whatever future is created. 

There are a number of things that we absolutely have to do in order to achieve our mission. And at the top of the list is reaching and influencing a lot of people (millions upon millions) and doing so effectively. » Read more

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In theory, there’s nothing problematic with living in a world full of exponential growth and depletion curves – as long as the world does not have any boundaries. However, exponential functions take on enormous importance when they approach a physical boundary, as seems to be the case for oil in the very near future. Both discoveries and production indicate that we could be at oil’s exponential boundary already.

We can make a very strong case that both population and our money system are utterly dependent on the continued expansion of oil energy. But what if our exponentially-based economic and monetary systems, rather than being the sophisticated culmination of human evolution, are really just an artifact of oil? What if all of our rich societal complexity and all of our trillions of dollars of wealth and debt simply are the human expression of surplus energy pumped from the ground?

What will happen to our exponential, debt-based money system? Is it even possible for it to function in a world without constant growth? These are important questions, and they deserve answers.

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Energy is the lifeblood of any economy. But when an economy is based on an exponential debt-based money system that is itself based on exponentially increasing energy supplies, the supply of that energy deserves our very highest attention.

Oil is a miracle, working tirelessly in the background to make our lives easy beyond historical measure. Oil represents over 50% of US total yearly energy use, while oil and natural gas together represent over 75%. How easily could we replace the role of oil in our style of consumer-led, growth based economy? Not very.

Peak Oil is simply a fact. Peak Oil is NOT synonymous with “running out of oil.” But the most urgent issue before us does not lie with identifying the precise moment of Peak Oil. What we need to be most concerned with is the day that world petroleum demand outstrips available supply. It is at that moment that the oil markets will change forever - and probably quite suddenly.

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Now we enter Part Two of the Crash Course. With the background you’ve received thus far, you are now positioned to understand how the Three “E”s - the Economy, Energy, and the Environment - intersect and seemingly converge on a very narrow window of the future - the Twenty-Teens. The next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years.

For you and me, there are only two ways to settle a debt: 1) Pay it off or 2) default on it. If you have a printing press like the government does, a third option exists: 3) Printing money to pay for the debt. So what is debt, really? Debt represents future consumption taken today.

Our entire economic system, and by extension our way of life, is founded on debt, and debt is founded on the assumption that the future will always be bigger than the past. Therefore it is utterly vital that we examine this assumption closely, because if this assumption is false, so are a lot of other critical things that we may be taking for granted.