The Luxury of Time or Nothing’s Easy or Everything’s Hard and The Debate Is Over. How much more time are we going to waste trying to convince Crazy Stupid People about the reality of Global Climate Change? Or what the concept of Peak Oil really means?

And if Peak Oil is too scary to contemplate … What about “Peak Water?”

The state of peak water is being approached in many areas around the world. 1.8 billion people will be living with absolute water scarcity within 15 years, and two thirds of the world population could be subject to “water stress” when the demand for water exceeds the available supply.

Let’s perform a quick experiment. Starting tomorrow let’s all agree to use 50% less water in our homes than we used today. Sounds like a good plan doesn’t it? We’ll conserve. That’s the ticket. The average family of four uses around 400 gallons of water every day. Can we all agree that it makes sense to try to bring that figure down to 200 gallons a day? We’ll fix all our leaky faucets and buy “WaterSense” labeled toilets. That could save about 5 gallons with every flush. And then we’ll buy the new water efficient front-loading non-agitator washing machines. We can also save up to 10 gallons a day by washing our dishes more efficiently. And last but not least … turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. After buying new appliances and restructuring the way we use water around the house … A family of four could cut water usage down to 200 gallons per day.

Good for us. We’re well on the way to solving the looming water shortage.

Now factor in this:

We only use 10% of the water for municipal supplies. Industry uses 20% of the water and the remaining 70% is used to grow our food. But … It takes thousands of times more water to make a cow than a bushel of grain. I’m not sayin’ we should all become vegetarians … but how many people could die of thirst because Americans eat over 38 million burgers every day?

Now factor in this:

There are about 16,000 golf courses in the United States. Half the total in all the world. Audubon International estimates the average American golf course uses 312,000 gallons per day. There are 57 golf courses in the desert city of Palm Springs California. Each course soaks up a million gallons of water a day. That is, each course, each day, in Palm Springs, consumes as much water as a family of four uses in four years.

By the way … Golf Digest reported that 41 percent of golfers polled believe that global warming is a myth. I wonder what they’d think about Peak Water?

Because we no longer have to debate about Global Climate Change and Peak Oil … what are we going to do about it? We’ve all seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. We’re all agreed we should shrink our personal carbon footprint.

I’ve changed all our incandescent lights to compact fluorescent bulbs. We’ve weather-stripped doors and windows, turned down the thermostat, insulated walls, the attic, the pipes, and the water heater. We’ve limited driving as much as possible and I take the bus everywhere. We only buy locally grown organic food and always follow the three “R’s:”

and Recycle.

As much as I hate gardening … next year we’ll be growing as much food as we can in our garden.

A 55 miles per hour speed limit was imposed by Richard Nixon back in 1974. That lowered the nation’s fuel consumption by 2%, or 167,000 barrels of oil per day. Ronald Reagan reversed all that in 1986 and speed limits were once again allowed to be set by individual states. Today the United States could save 4% of its total oil consumption by again lowering the speed limit to 55mph. Our little family has already slowed down to 55. That’s why everybody passes us.

What if we all tried to do everything we could to postpone the day of reckoning Peak Oil and Global Climate Change will bring? Would that be enough to make a difference?

Factor in this:

A U.S. navy destroyer uses the same amount of oil in a week that a city of 200,000 people use in a year.

Regardless of what we do to shrink our “footprint” … the Dominant Culture, The Empire, our civilization, is still hell-bent on killing us all.

How much more time can we waste trying to convince Crazy Stupid People that Capitalism is insane? The planet is finite. You can’t inflate it and make it bigger.

How much longer will we avoid confronting The Scariest Fact Of All: Our civilization is destroying the planet.

Our culture is insane. Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

And Derrick Jensen wrote, “Within this culture wealth is measured by one’s ability to consume and destroy.”

The Dominant Culture has poisoned the air, land, water, and … us. Dioxin is in every mother’s breast milk. Civilization is stripping the land and oceans of life. 90 percent of the largest fish in our oceans are … gone. Where do we draw the line? When do we say, “Enough!” When do we make our stand? Do we wait until 95% of the fish are gone? Ninety-seven percent of the world’s native forests have been cut. Do we wait until they are all gone?

Where does it say civilization has the right to destroy the world?

Do we protest wars? Wars are symptomatic of the insane culture. Bush and Cheney are symptomatic of the Dominant Culture. Greedy Republicans and cowering Democrats are symptomatic of the Dominant Culture. Our institutions protect the Dominate Culture.

To quote Jensen again, “Surely by now there can be few here who still believe the purpose of government is to protect us from the destructive activities of corporations. At last most of us must understand that the opposite is true: that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens.”

So how in the hell do we stop this?

Jensen says every morning when he wakes up, he asks himself if he should write … or blow up a dam. “You and I can write all we want, but that doesn’t help the salmon. What they need is for dams to be removed and logging stopped.”

We hope that our culture will undergo a voluntary transition. What if it doesn’t? Do we write, protest, boycott, … and then blow up dams?

We may not have the luxury of time to discuss what we are going to do. But we are going to have to talk about it.

What are we going to do?

The Luxury of Time or Nothing’s Easy or Everything’s Hard and The Debate Is Over September 16, 2010


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