For a Democracy to work properly, the citizenry must be informed, and must express its will, so that the elected leaders can implement the will of the people. When the public is not informed, or is misinformed, then the will of some other entity may be served. When secrets are held from the people, the possibility exists of hidden governmental agendas, based on issues that may be hidden from the public.
Public policy, particularly U.S. government policy, has many layers and levels of impacts — on the American people, on the American physical environment, on other nations and peoples, and on the earth itself and its biodiversity.
In this essay I will present links to evidence that a very serious matter that should be publicly debated has to date been kept secret from the American people in general. As a result, we are seeing precipitous government policies and actions that may be to the detriment of the people, their future, as well as to wildlife and the ecological health of the earth, and conservation of its species and biodiversity.
This secret predates the current Federal administration of George W. Bush, but actions by the Bush administration currently in both domestic and international affairs are exacerbating the effects of it. War and peace, endangered species management, wildlife and wild lands conservation, and public policy in the most general terms are now directly being affected by a highly significant fact that the American public has not been allowed to debate and discuss in all its critical ramifications. As a result, for example, we see manifestations of public policies based on this secret in the form of repeated attempts, for instance, to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we see “war and peace” activities that have led to invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation, we have seen severe diplomatic clashes between America and long-time allies, and we have seen increasingly intense efforts by the U.S. government to weaken environmental protections of our homeland in many ways.
So, what is this “secret” that has such compelling consequences? A lengthy discussion can be found in an essay called “The Best-Kept Secret in Washington” (actually written during the Clinton Administration but ever so much more applicable today, at http://www.dieoff.org/page173.htm). But I will describe this secret and some of its ramifications, based on my own investigation.
Experts in geology, physics, economics and petroleum engineering tell us that we are approaching, and may have already reached a critical stage in human affairs. If we have not already done so, within a very short time (at most two to ten years) mankind will have depleted one half of all petroleum resources available on planet Earth. From that time forward, we will see increasing and permanent scarcity of oil, which has become the engine for an entire epoch in human history, the industrial age. This fact coincides with expanded demand for oil worldwide based on a fast-growing human population, coupled with a desire for never-ended economic growth. In fact, world financial institutions, including the U.S. Stock Market, are based on perpetual growth, and the realization that growth inevitably will end will likely yield catastrophic results on economies, human population, international affairs, and possibly the environment over time.
Although approximately one trillion barrels of oil will remain available for exploitation after this midpoint (called Hubbert’s Oil Peak) is reached, and thus much wealth will be derived from the exploitation of those resources, the reality is that prices will have to go upwards until full depletion occurs. And for the United States of America, the hard truth is that U.S. oil production peaked around 1971 and so the U.S. will be dependent in the future on Middle Eastern oil supplies, where the vast majority of petroleum reserves lie.
Many Americans have known for some time about the dependence on foreign oil, but the timing of the realm of depletion and its critical role in preventing the sort of economic growth Americans have assumed as their birthright is not generally known.
One petroleum expert has specifically stated that the Oil Age for mankind will have a duration of 100 years, and since his date of the beginning of that period was 1930, then he predicts an end of the Oil Age in the year 2030. And others have predicted similar time frames for the depletion of oil as a major fuel for the economic engine of mankind’s industry. You can read Richard Duncan’s speech to the Geological Society of America at http://dieoff.org/page224.htm
Another in-depth analysis of this situation can be gathered from a Dutch website at http://www.egoproject.nl
More data on this can be obtained at http://www.hubbertpeak.comor http://www.peakoil.net
Let us take a moment to examine some more of the ramifications of this critical situation, plus why it is critical that the public be informed and impact public policy implementation.
Our society is dominated by the use of oil resources. We use oil as fuel for hundreds of millions of automobiles, but we also use oil to manufacture those automobiles. We use oil (petroleum) as a raw ingredient for countless plastics, lubricants and other chemicals. We use petroleum to provide nitrogen for fertilizer for our agriculture, and we use petroleum powered tractors intensively in our farming practices. We often grow our food far from where we eat it, and we have to transport all that food from farm to market, usually using oil We use electricity in great abundance, often depending on oil, just as millions of Americans heat their homes with oil Our economy is based on growth, which is dependent, not only on oil, but on cheap oil, and as the price of oil goes up, the economy is increasingly strangled.
We are entering a period of history in which increasing scarcity of oil will make prices go up irreversibly and our economy and society will be invariably impacted.
Competition for oil by nations will invariably increase. The U.S. neo-conservatives are certainly aware of this, and have published for several years policy papers that call for increasing U.S. military control of “strategic” resources, including petroleum. Even Jimmy Carter, during his presidency, stated a doctrine that oil would be considered a “strategic” resource, and military force would be used by the U.S. to preserve its strategic access to world resources.
Thus, the concern of some of the American public over “Blood for Oil” is a real one.
All of these factors indicate a real crisis for American and world societies. How will this impact the environment and biodiversity?
One possibility is that all environmental protections and biodiversity protections may be tossed aside as a value judgment. Some may determine that humans come first, and other species will have to fend for themselves. We know that already many species are at risk of extinction. We know that modern agriculture has been intensely energy and input dependent, since we have lost much of our topsoil and natural fertility by abusing the land. How will we feed ourselves thirty years down the road when nitrogen-based fertilizers will be prohibitively expensive, if available at all?
There will come a time, within many of our lifetimes, when the cost of producing energy by oil drilling will be more expensive than the value of the energy itself, because it takes energy to recover energy sources.
In short, we are in for a huge mess! That does not mean that we cannot work through it. But our citizenry must be informed of the seriousness of the timing of these matters. We are in a time when critical actions and critical decisions need to be made promptly! We can possibly mitigate some impacts by accelerating programs of renewable energy, and we can work these programs into environmentally sound protocols, including preservation of biodiversity by design/planning.
One interesting aspect of this, as I see it, is that as oil prices increase relative to other energy sources, such as wind power, the cost of wind power will be increasingly much cheaper than oil-based electricity. So, instead of quibbling to the tenth of a penny per kilowatt of the cost of preventing wildlife mortalities in wind energy production, we should be able to use some of that money to ensure that our wind turbines are designed so as not to kill eagles and other birds.
Bottom Line: We are facing a huge change in human society, and experts are predicting these impacts within years, and full impacts within just two or three decades. The public is not being informed on matters of urgent and critical importance. Acting now can reduce impacts and preserve life and biodiversity.
Even at present, by greatly increasing conservation practices and efficiency in our use of energy, we can mitigate the need to devastate pristine habitat for wildlife just to recover a few years worth of oil.
The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.