Transition Canada: The Art Of The Long View

It’s not natural for humans to think in long terms. We aren’t programmed that way. Our operating system is still the same one that was refined by evolution till about ten thousand years ago to function optimally in the present. And that’s a big problem in the modern world. Let me give you an example.

Our bodies are programmed to really, really like any form of sugar or fat because of their high calorie content. The reason is because, for animals, sugars and fats are rare and valuable, so our bodies are programmed not just to like them, but to be able to eat more than we need at the moment and store it for later. That is the best biological strategy when high calorie containing foods are rare. Now that high calorie foods are everywhere, we have a problem. The only solution to overcome this problem is to have our rational brain override our evolutionary programming. In other words, to take the long view.

Now let’s apply that issue to your life span and the availability and price of oil. This is important to any Boomer who plans on living a few more decades but more important to Gen-X and critical to Millennials (those 25 or younger). The chart below shows how many billion barrels of oil each country has reported remaining (blue) and estimates of about how many more years it will last (purple). On average all the worlds known oil reserves together are estimated to last about 43 years longer at current rates of consumption.

Now mind you, its not as if everything will remain the same until one day the last gas tank is filled and then suddenly -Doh! – we have a problem. We’ll have problems long before that, Peak Oil arrives the minute demand exceeds supply, likely within this decade. Also, consider the fact that these figures are reported by the politicians of each country and it is in their national interests to report a very positive outlook. Also the rate of consumption is increasing dramatically as the rest of the world catches up to the standard of living enjoyed in the West.

Finally, since just about everything about your life depends on oil, this information is worth considering seriously. That is the understatement of the century.

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