The End of Cheap Oil & Gas – Kenneth E. Boulding

"In 1859 the human race discovered a huge treasure chest in its basement. This was oil and gas, a fantastically cheap and easily available source of energy. We did, or at least some of us did, what anybody does who discovers a treasure in the basement – live it up, and we have been spending this treasure with great enjoyment" – Kenneth E. Boulding (1978)

And using it up precariously with wanton abandon, finding any possible way to exploit the abundant energy we’re soon to run out of. Much like the fable with the ant saving food for the winter and the grasshopper playing all summer long until he finds no food to live on in the winter. The problem here is we don’t have a big brother that we can rely on when our energy stores are depleted. It may be a long winter’s night indeed.

What incentives are needed for society and governments to truly start taking the need for alternative energy sources seriously? The affluent won’t adopt new technologies because they can afford to pay for energy prices, therefore, we need to force the issue any way we can so that renewable energy sources can become accessible for all.

As we are finding out, the party is really over.


7 Responses to “The End of Cheap Oil & Gas – Kenneth E. Boulding”

  1. Natural Nuggets

    Nov 28. 2010

    you got that right the party is over

  2. Bryan

    Dec 07. 2010

    As much as I’m all for alternative energy – heck I built a website about it – I think that the fact that this was written in 1978 is a good indicator of the fact that we’re not in as much trouble with oil as we’d like to think. Oil prices will go up, but I don’t think that we’re going to run out any time soon.

  3. calristein

    Dec 09. 2010

    Read the book The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies by Richard Heinberg. You'll see that we're closer to the end of easy energy than you think. Right now it's a race against time to find alternative sources that are at least somewhat as inexpensive as oil and gas have been over the 150 years.

  4. Jerry Ponson

    Mar 18. 2013

    If the party's not over right now, it certainly will be over very soon.  I don't think it's so much the fact that we will run out of oil tomorrow, but that we need to start transitioning now so that we don't get ourselves into a desperate situation in 10 or 30 years time.
    An ounce of prevention, as they say..

  5. Joseph Colfer

    Mar 27. 2013

    Is the party really over? With the massive growth in Fracking and the amount of gas that can be obtained from this I don't think the party is quite over yet.

  6. calristein

    Jun 08. 2014

    OK, so fracking can add another 75-100 years to the fossil fuel era, but to what end? All the energy in the world can't replace drinkable aquifers, uncontaminated land for agriculture, and animal and plant life. Big Oil and bought politicians can't hide the facts forever. Cops and Firefighters Could Soon Be Charged for Disclosing Fracking Chemicals in North Carolina | Mother Jones 


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