Peak Oil: Chapter 4


  Peak Oil Overview

     Evolutionary psychology and peak oil:
      A Malthusian inspired "heads up" for humanity.

          -- by
Michael E. Mills, Ph.D.


Chapter 4: What can psychological science, and evolutionary psychology in particular,
offer to help to address these problems?


Can humans be "smarter than yeast?"  Can we be the only species that can
successfully avoid ecological overshoot and collapse?   Can we differentiate
linear from exponential increases in growth?  Can we accept that some
resources on our planet, particularly oil, are finite?  Can we forgo some
short term gratifications for long term sustainability?   Can we understand that
our actions today may have some profound consequences for future generations,
for our children and grandchildren?

These are psychological problems -- are we psychologically sophisticated
enough to manage our own collective behavior to achieve sustainable human
societies on a finite planet?

Evolved adaptations (including psychological adaptations) are all solutions to problems
of inclusive fitness in ancestral environments.   Our ancestors' "inclusive fitness"
refers to the number of genes they projected into the next generation
via reproduction, and by helping those who shared their genes (close kin).


Inclusive fitness has been the "designer" of human psychological adaptations.

Evolution cannot look forward; it cannot anticipate what it has never encountered.
We have no psychological adaptations to avoid ecological overshoot.  In fact,
we have just the opposite.

Here's the sobering rub:

Inclusive fitness is always relative to others; it is not absolute.

That is, nature doesn't "say,"

"Have 2 kids (or help 4 full sibs), and then you can stop. Good job!
You did your genetic duty, you avoided contributing
to ecological overshoot, and you may pass along now..."

Instead, nature "says" (relative inclusive fitness):

"Out-reproduce your competitors. Your competitors
are all of the genes in your species' gene pool that you do not share. If
the average inclusive fitness score is 4, then you go for 5... "

In other words, our psychological adaptations are designed to not just "keep
up with the Joneses" but to "do better than the Joneses."
This is in whatever
terms that increase inclusive fitness -- number of children, and things that
have led to them, such as status, multiple wives, resource acquisition and control, etc.

An unfortunately corollary of the relativity of inclusive fitness is that
an organism can also increase its inclusive fitness by reducing the inclusive
fitness of others. That potentially makes murder, genocide, warfare, and other
nasty stuff potential genetic pay offs.

Game theory

Game theorists suggest that, with every interaction with others, we have
a choice to either cooperate or to "defect."



For more on this see:




How can we set up a situation wherein it is in everyone's interest to
both reduce oil consumption, as well as invest in renewable energy sources?

This is an example of what is called a "social trap" or a "tragedy of the commons."

Evolutionary psychology and the problem of the "Tragedy of the Commons"

Evolutionary psychology suggests we will tend to be altruistic (not expect
repayment) toward close kin (especially those with high reproductive value),
and we will tend to be nice to non-kin with whom we have established an
on-going, mutually beneficial reciprocal relationship. We will tend to be selfish
otherwise.  Also, we may be spiteful (hurt another even at a cost to self) to
reduce the inclusive fitness of others, especially when they are reducing our
inclusive fitness and/or the overall resource pie is shrinking.

We will tend to act altruistically when certain conditions are met.
One of the them is called "Hamilton's Rule."





Obviously, we are inclined toward nepotism.

Indirect reciprocity (also called "strong reciprocity," or "generalized reciprocity").

We tend to behave as if we still lived in small tribes as did our ancestors.
This "error" makes generalized cooperation, or "strong reciprocity," possible.
We may be willing to help strangers, without an expectation of repayment,
as long as we perceive them as members of our "tribe." It may be a set of
adaptations that were designed for small in-group cohesion during times of
high inter-tribal warfare with out-groups.

Today, the capacity to be altruistic to in-group strangers may result from a serendipitous
generalization (or "mismatch") between ancestral tribal living and today's large
societies that entail many single interactions with anonymous strangers. We think
members of our in-group are part of our "tribe."  Result: strong reciprocity -- acting
like a "good Samaritan," cognitive concepts of justice, ethics and human rights.

Ironically strong reciprocity also has a dark side.  It may also underlie adaptations
for aggression toward "out-groups," including the capacity for xenophobia,
racism, warfare, genocide.   And, for fighting over increasingly scarce resources.

Strong reciprocity is more likely to occur in a "positive sum game" (when the
entire pie is growing) because the costs of non-cooperating are higher.  One
simply has to cooperate to expect a progressively larger slice of the pie in the future.

So, generalized reciprocity works well when the overall resource pie is
growing (in a "positive sum game").

But, as was noted above, the Peak Oil crisis is a "shrinking energy pie" situation (a "negative
sum game").

A shrinking energy pie:


Successful adaptation to peak oil requires that the whole world to cooperate as
oil resources dwindle.   Is that possible?

Fooling evolved mental adaptations with virtual reality "psychological illusions."

So, what are we up against to avoid ecological overshoot? Nothing less tenacious
than human nature. Hopeless? Not sure yet.

If we are to have a chance to be "smarter than yeast", we have to be
smart enough to understand and manipulate our own psychological adaptations.
We have to "fool Mother Nature."  We have to agree to fool ourselves.

Can we?  Yes.  In fact, it happens all the time today.

We can enjoy films, TV and photos because they were not part of our ancestral
environment.  We have no adaptations to counter these novel tricks -- we
often have difficulty distinguishing between virtual reality and reality.


For example, when we watch a TV sitcom such as "Friends" we are fooled (at least on an emotional level) into thinking the characters really are our friends. We may smile and say hello if we see Jennifer Aniston on the street (she was in our living room, after all). 

But, don't expect a reciprocal response, though. To Jennifer, of course, we are an intruding stranger she has never met.


We cry and laugh at movies, despite the fact that we know what we are
watching is just light projected through film, the actors are reading from a
script, and there is a sound guy holding a boom mic standing just out of the frame. 
Sure, it is sad that the ship sank, but no one on the set actually drowned. 
Nevertheless, our psychological adaptations are fooled, and we may leave
the theater a bit misty.


So, just as we can be fooled by perceptual illusions, we can also be fooled by
virtual reality psychological illusions.

Can we fool our psychological adaptations to help to live sustainably on
a finite planet? Probably.


If we know enough about what "psychological buttons" we have as part
of our evolved human nature, we might be able to figure out which
of our own psychological buttons to push to modify, or self- control,
our own behavior.

Engineered social self-influence, intentionally designed activate psychological
adaptations, may help to modify our own behavior to help to mitigate
ecological challenges.    For example, we could consent to allow
government sponsored Public Service Announcements
(PSAs) -- media advertisements -- to help to change our
self-destructive oil addiction.  

PSAs have helped to reduce another self-destructive habit -- smoking:



PSAs have also helped to increase the use of seat belts while driving:



We need many more PSAs to help to reduce our self-destructive oil addition,
and to encourage the use of renewable energy.

We might also use our knowledge of our psychological buttons to help us
"keep 'down' with the Joneses."  That is, if "down" is redefined to mean
higher status.   Psychologist Robert Cialdini has written several books about
using "psychological illusions" to persuade people to do things they otherwise
might be disinclined to do.    For example:

From the article: "Finding the 'Weapons' of Persuasion to Save Energy:"

In one San Diego suburb, Cialdini's team went door to door, ringing
the doorknobs with signs about energy conservation. There were
four types of signs, and each home received one randomly, every week,
...for a month. The first sign urged the homeowner to save energy for the
environment's sake; the second said to do it for future generations'
benefit. The third sign pointed to the cash savings that would come from
conservation. The fourth sign featured Cialdini's trick: "The
majority of your neighbors are undertaking energy saving actions every

 ...(Cialdini also) decided to target the below-average energy users
with a special message.

"When we sent them the message saying you're doing better than
your neighbors,  we put a smiley face emoticon next to their score," he said.
"And that kept them down below what any of their neighbors were doing."

Note how simply redefining high social status (in this case, energy conservation)
helped to change behavior.

In addition, women may have a special role to play.  They need to be prepped
to find "ecological men" of limited resource consumption really, really sexy.
Unfortunately, sexual selection has designed women to tend to prefer
"alpha males" -- high status, high consumption, high resource control men
(in ancestral times, they helped women's children survive and thrive).
Men are adapted to do their darned best to give women what they want, or face
reproductive oblivion.  One way that today's men have demonstrated their
high status has been to drive big SUVs.

However, what if tomorrow women found the guy behind the wheel of an electric
car, electric scooter, or a bicycle irresistible? And, what if women sexually
rejected the guy driving a big, gas guzzling SUV?  

And, again, powerful media / advertising messages can help to fool our psychological
adaptations.  (This is called "social advertising" or " social marketing.")  We need to
develop a strong "social narrative" of mutual cooperation on a finite planet.

However, right now, we are getting advertising messages from oil and coal
companies that implicitly discourage the use of clean, renewable energy.
For example, here is a commercial developed by the coal industry that makes
some dubious claims:



Note in the video above that the coal companies are not trying to directly sell
you coal.  They are attempting to change your attitudes about coal, and
thus create a social and political climate favorable to their industry.

Here is a parody commercial -- an oil company trying to change our
attitudes about mixing oil and water:



Below is a video parody of a "clean coal"  TV commercial:



Needed:  A sustainability movement and world leadership that
is not "near- sighted."

A new social movement is needed - a sustainability movement
This is particularly important for anyone who plans to live in the future. 

Young people in particular need to mobilize and demand change now.  
A grass-roots movement of the magnitude of the civil rights movement in the
1960s, and the women's rights movement of the 1970s, is needed.  Today no one wants
to be called a racist or a sexist.  Those movements had clearly defined
out-groups to vilify as the "enemy" -- and that may have helped to mobilize
and motivate activists.

But who is the enemy now?  There is no out-group.  The enemy is us. 
We are fighting against ourselves -- our base psychological adaptations
to compete for relative status,  mates and resources.

And calling someone a "non-sustainablist" doesn't have the same stigma or sting.
Perhaps sometime in the future it will. 

In addition, will those who are currently powerful expend their political capital to
effect the desperately needed emergency transition to renewable energy,
and do so in time?  This is an ultimate issue of vision and leadership.

There is the rub.

Here is a brief video about the problem, and what we need to do to help
to prepare for a post-carbon future.


Source:  The Ultimate Roller Coaster Ride, Post Carbon Institute


But what can I do?  I am just one person.

When people lead, leaders will follow.
    -- Gandhi

Politicians are like weather vanes; our job is to make the wind blow.
    -- David Brower

The trouble is that once you see it, you can't un-see it. And once you've
seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as
speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable.
Arundhati Roy

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes
difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.

     -- President Obama, 1/21/2013


You can help to get the word out.  You can help to inform your family and friends.
Email them the link to this, and to other, peak oil web pages (see below for more
resources).  You can place posts with relevant web links on your social media
pages about the problem.   You can keep informed.  You can meet with others
in your community who understand the problem.  You can help your
community develop the resources, and resilience, to prepare --  to re-localize and
become increasingly self-sufficient.

Below is a video clip from the film Fuel about the "bottom up"
political change that is needed.



For more info re the film "Fuel" see:

As noted in the video clips, you can help to inform and lobby politicians. 
You can vote out of office those who don't support an emergency transition
to renewable energy.

You can start to "be the change you want to see" by conserving energy and
using renewable energy.   Sure, it may be a very small contribution. 
But other people will notice.

Let's do our best to recognize and to accept the serious oil depletion problem we face, and
let's work cooperatively to help to mitigate what is likely to be a very challenging
and difficult transition period to renewable energy.


Visitors since August, 2008:


Information about Preparing for Peak Oil:  -- Excellent resources -- in particular, see their video Preparing for a Post Peak Life
      and Best of the Oil Drum Index -- author of the video slideshow Crash Course.   Explore this website -- much
     useful information.  Especially see:
     A video of one of his excellent presentations.  His book:  Crash Course.

A Century of Challenges, by Nicole Foss.   Video and PowerPoint presentation about peak oil, its
     economic effects, and how to prepare.    Excellent. 
         - How to Build a Lifeboat
         - blog at The Automatic Earth.
         - audio interview with Jim Papluva, 10/23/2010
   - talk at the 2010 Transition Network Conference
      Listen to her talk here.

Post Carbon Institute helps individuals and communities understand and respond to the environmental,
     societal, and economic crises created by our dependence on fossil fuels.

Richard Heinberg's personal website.   Books, videos, Museletter newsellter.

Transition United States:

Transition Culture (UK):

Transition Voice:

Peat Moment TV:

Transition Towns  - Wikipedia article

Video:  Transition 1.0


Community for Tomorrow


Local Future:

Community Solution:

Associatio n for the Study of Peak Oil:

Titanic Lifeboat Academy  Helping people build lifeboats for the transition through resource depletion,
       climate change & population overshoot

Collapse Network, website hosted by Michael Ruppert

Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability --  "peak oil aware" psychotherapists who know the stress of the dawning
awareness of Peak Oil, and who wish to assist others in learning how to transform
any frozen or destructive emotional reactions into more proactive, productive responses.

PeakOilPreparation  If you would like to read and/or contribute to a new wiki about preparing
       for peak oil.

Article: Our World Is Finite: Is This a Problem?  

       Suggests that we might anticipate these changes:

1. Initially, higher prices for energy and food items and a major recession.
2. Longer term, a decline in economic activity.
3. Transportation difficulties and electrical outages.
4. Possible collapse of the monetary system.
5. Failure of economic assumptions to hold.
6. Changed emphasis to more local production.
7. Reduced emphasis on debt.
8. Reduced emphasis on insurance and pensions.
9. More people will perform manual labor.
10. Resource wars and migration conflicts.
11. Changes in family relationships.
12. Eventual population decline.

For parents:

Preparing Kids for the Unknown unknown/

Armageddon Mama: Parenting toward the Apocalypse ys/fall2010_mayor.asp

A Parent's Dilemma: Preparing a Child for an Uncertain Future�s-dilemma-preparing-a-child-for-an-uncertain- future/

Online discussion forums related to peak oil:

The Oil Drum:
The Oil Age:
Sustainable County:
Silent County:
Chris Martenson forum:
Hubbert s Arms:  http://www.hubberts-
Illuminist:< /a>

Additional preparation resources:

100 Things You Can Do to Prepare for Peak Oil, part 1 and part 2, by Sharon Astyk
       Also see her: blog postThe Time Is Now (to prepare)
Australia, The Place to Be.  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3a Part 3b
Blog:  Future Prep  -- series of articles
List of preparation links
Energy Descent Action Plans - a primer by Adam Fenderson
How to pass a peak oil resolution, by David Room (for local governments). Also see
    The impact of Peak Oil on Rural Communities
Where To Live

A humorous (?) video:  "Post-Oil Man"



        A more upbeat video about communities that are working
        to develop local renewable energy, including the Island of Aero in Denmark
        which is almost energy independent:



We also need to develop economic systems that are sustainable -- that do not
        require ever expanding economic growth to avoid collapse.  Here is a film trailer from
        the movie Hooked on Growth.


           For more information about this video, see:

For more information about Peak Oil:

 Informative and brief (12 minute) Australian video about the problem:  Highly recommended.


     Chris Martenson's Crash Course Peak Oil Chapter.   Highly recommended.

From  (Brief overview.)

    Peak Oil and the Fate of Humanity, by Borbert Beriault. A "PowerPoint book" -- excellent.

Online Videos:

Links to lots of online videos about peak oil:

Richard Heinberg -- Peak Everything.

91-86-90.   Steve Crower, an energy investment banker from Denver, CO, presents the
underlying data of the world's petroleum supplies and why we should pay attention to it...

Crude - the incredible journey of oil.  Australian Broadcasting Company. Recommended.

CNN production We Were Warned: Out of Gas with Frank Sesno.
( )

CNBC:  Crude Realities: Peak Oil Reality -- very brief interview with Matt Simmons  (November, 2007)

A CNN video about Report: 'World at peak oil output'   (Oct, 2007)  

Future Shock: End of the Oil Age.   Produced by RTE, Ireland.

M. King Hubbard discusses peak oil (1976)

Peak Moment TV a television series emphasizing positive responses to
energy decline and climate change through local community action.
Also available at Global Public Media

List of Peak Oil video material, compiled by

BBC Documentary: The End of the Age of Oil

Peak OIl? ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)  -- excellent, balanced presentation. It
includes interviews with Colin Campbell,  Robert Hirsch,  Chris Skrebowski, and others.

Discovery Channel's Addicted to Oil reported by Thomas Friedman
(author of "The World is Flat").

Arithmetic, Population and Energy, Dr. Albert Bartlett  (Both video and MP3 available.
    A transcript is also available here.)  
Highly recommended.
   Related readling: Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast? -- problems of exponential growth.  
   Also see these brief videos:
        Finite Resources and Expnential Growth
        Population Growth in a Yeast Colony.   
        The basics of making wine

        Human Population Explosion
        Living in Exponetial Times
        Population and Environment


Oil, Smoke and Mirrors.  documentary produced by Ronan Doyle.

The End of Suburbia

Asleep in America 7 Minute promo for upcoming documentary.

Chicago Tribune Documentary on Oil (includes video).  Know where your gas comes from? Find out.

A post-oil man. A humorous (?) look at preparing for peak oil.  Also see Dance, Moneys, Dance.  

Congressman Bartlett's Peak Oil Presentations to the US Congress: 1   (March 14, 2005):

Also see his interview on E&E TV:
Kenneth Deffeyes, author of "Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak,"
explains his theories and looks at oil alternatives.
< span lang="en-us">Lecture by physics professor David Goodstein, author of "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil."
Lecture given at Caltech on 10/13/2004:  (search in list for lecture)

Lecture by chemistry professor Nathan Lewis: "Powering the Planet: Where in the World Will
Our Energy Come From?"
Lecture given at Caltech on 5/25/2005. er/list?subset=all&story%5fcount=end  (search in list for lecture)

Lecture by Robert Kaufmann "Oil and the American Way of Life: Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Fermilab Colloquium Lectures, June 1, 2005. x.htm

Interview with  'Twilight in the Desert' author Matt Simmons. Are the Saudis running out of oil,
and are their reserve estimates accurate?  What other sources might help fill the gap?
(Originally aired: 06/15/2005)

Chevron Oil -- television (and print) advertisements warning about peak oil:    Also see their "Issues in Brief:"

The myths, and pros and cons, of hydrogen fuel cells  (PBS - Nova)

BBC Connections: The Trigger Effect.   Excellent program on our interdependence on fragile links
between different forms of technology, with a focus on the 1965 New York blackout, and
the cascading technological collapses that followed. The film has some quite
ironic coincidences, showing the twin towers and an incoming flight with the flight number 911.
This is the documentary that prompted the 1996 film by the same name.  


CollapseFilm featuring Michael Ruppert, by director Chris Smith. (2010)

History Channel -- Mega Disasters -- Oil Apocalypse (2007)

Escape from Suburbia (2007)

What a Way to Go: Life at the End of an Empire (2007)

Who Killed the Electric Car? See: Plug in America

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (2006)  Recommended.

Peak Oil: Imposed by Nature (2005) 

The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream (2004)

Online audio programs:

Energy Roundtable -- Financial Sense Newshour  Features discussions
with James Howard Kunstler, author of "The
Long Emergency," and Richard Heinberg, author, "Powerdown: Options and
Actions for a Post-Carbon World." Also, Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Beyond
Oil:Current Events, "... we passed the peak on December 16, 2005..."

Peak Oil in the Mainstream Press

Time Magazine:  Peak Possibilities, 11/21/2007

Wall Street Journal,  frontpage article, 11/19/07:  Oil Officials See Limit
Looming on Production

CNN: Report: 'World at peak oil output'   (Oct, 2007)   See a video about this report.
          See the source report by Energy Watch Group:  Oil Report Summary

Experts: Petroleum May Be Nearing a Peak.  Associated Press / Forbes, 5/28/05

Additional online articles:

Peak Oil: Alternatives, Renewables, And Impacts, by Ciliffor Wirth
Updated quarterly.

Peak Oil Booklet by Gail Tverberg
    Introduction and Chapter 1 - What Is Peak Oil?
    Chapter 2: Is This a False Alarm?
    Chapter 3: Peak Oil: What's Ahead?   
    Chapter 4: What Should We Do Now?

The Science of Oil and Peak Oil.  Part 1 and Part 2 by Gail Tverberg

Also see her articles on the Economic Impact of Peak Oil

Part 1: Economic Impact of Peak Oil A Flashback
Part 2: Economic Impact of Peak Oil Part 2: Our Current Situation
Part 3: What's Ahead?

Our World Is Finite: The Implications of Resource Limitations

Peak Oil Report by Peak Oil Associates International (updated monthly).

Peak Oil Overview - June 2007

World Energy to 2050: A Half Centry of Decline and World Energy and Population: Trends to 2100
by Paul Chefurka

Material by professor Guy R. McPherson, University of Arizona.
Articles: The end of civilization and the extinction of humanity, and End of the world as we know it:
You might feel fine, but high oil cost, scarcity mean American Empire is about to come crashing down

See his blog: Nature Bats Last, as well as an interview with him on Youtube.

Net Oil Exports and the "Iron Triangle" -- if "peak oil" is scary, consider how "peak oil exports" will
    accelerate the onset of oil withdrawal syndrome.

FuelHardy by Richard Karn, the Emerging Trends Report, July 31, 2007

Brief summary of The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and the Coming Global Financial Catastrophe
by Jeremy Leggett.

Energy and Human Evolution, by David Price

Energy Resources and Our Future - Speech by Admiral Hyman Rickover in 1957

Peak Oil and famine: Four Billion Deaths, by Peter Goodchild

Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for peak oil than the US
by Dmitry Orlov

Peak oil consequences: neglecting future problems is a failure of leadership
by George Orwel

Freezing Point of Industrial Society

What Can Replace Cheap Oil -- and When?  Richard A. Kerr and Robert F. Service, Science,
Vol 309, Issue 5731, 101, 1 July 2005.

Peak Oil and Alternative Energy. Why there is no good alternative to oil (in terms of net energy).

Brief summary of Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management
(study led by led by Dr. Robert Hirsch and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy).  Also,
see The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production, by Robert Hirsch, as well as Peaking of
World Oil Production: Problem, Complexity, Mitigation and Risks
(a longer version is here).

Energy in a Nutshell, by Alice Friedemann.

U.S. National Commission on Energy Policy -- Oil Shockwave report.

On June 23, 2005, a group of nine former White House cabinet and senior national security officials convened to participate in
a simulated working group of a White House cabinet. Their task: to advise an American president
as the nation grapples with an oil crisis over a seven-month period. As they enter the room, they are
unaware of the circumstances or nature of the oil crisis.

Sweden plans to be world's first oil-free economy --15-year limit set for switch to renewable energy

Wall Street Journal article (8/3/05): 
Drilling for Broke? Experts Debate 'Peak Oil'

Experts: Petroleum May Be Nearing a Peak.  Associated Press / Forbes, 5/28/05

The Olduvai Theory: Energy, Population, and Industrial Civilization by Richard C. DuncanRecommended. (but depressing....)


Psychological and ecological aspects of peak oil: Articles and websites specially related to psychological aspects of peak oil

Peak Oil - Believe it or Not?

Cognitive biases potentially affecting judgment of global risks.

I am Human, I'm American, and I'm an Addict...

Resource Depletion, Persuasion, and the Ongoing World Meme

World Energy to 2050: A Half Centry of Decline and World Energy and Population: Trends to 2100
by Paul Chefurka

Article:  Can We Be Happy Using Less Energy? Uhhh.... YES! by Nate Hagens

Article: Denial Of Energy Crisis Is A Conditioned Response, by Dave Wheelock

Can Shrunken Families be Reflated? by Suart Staniford

Articles by Jay Hanson:
    Interview   Also see his discussions of The Tragedy of the Commons,
    Ecology, and Carrying Capacity.
    Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War   

Living for the Moment while Devaluing the Future by Nate Hagens

The Behavioral Aspects of Peak Oil: Basic Contingencies, by Lyle Grant.  Summary
at, and full paper (PDF) "Peak Oil as a Behavioral Problem" that appeared
in Behavior and Social Issues, 16, 65-88 (2007)

Happiness, economic growth, and oil prices, by Stuart Staniford

Energy Availability, Happines, and Beating Peak Oil Depression by Matt Savinar

Energy and Human Evolution, by David Price

The Contribution of the Social Sciences to the Energy Challenge, US House of Representatives
Also see a discussion of this at the Oil Drum, including social psychologist Robert Cialdini's testimony.

Telling Others about Peak Oil -- problems of denial when warning family and friends about peak oil --  "peak oil aware" psychotherapists who know the stress of the dawning
awareness of Peak Oil, and who wish to assist others in learning how to transform
any frozen or destructive emotional reactions into more proactive, productive responses.

 Books related to consumer psychology:

The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption, by Gad Saad (2007)

Luxury Fever, by Robert H. Frank  (2000)

Dealing With Peak Oil Depression By Peter Goodchild

More relevant articles at The Oil Drum, topic: Sociology/Psychology

Sustainable Economics:

Money Talks
" ...our economy fails to charge us the "true cost" of denying future generations
the fossil energy they might need to feed themselves 50 years hence."

Political Action and Peak Oil:

Election Time in the Land of Oz

The Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan

Websites and Email Groups:

 General: --peer reviewed and authoritative  (lots of good links)  -- regular updates about peak oil and oil production levels -- A peak oil primer
Association for the Study of Peak OIl and Gas (APSO- USA)  -- The Beginner's Guide to Peak Oil  - Chevron Oil website on peak oil.

Wikipedia articles: peak_oil< /a> wiki/Energy:_world_resources_and_consumption out_in_Sweden-
< a href="">http://e
< /p>

Earth Clock -- population, etc.

Websites related to Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI, EROI, or "net energy" or "exergy")
-- one of the most essential concepts to understand with regard to oil and renewable energy:
EROEI Table:

Articles by Nate Hagens The Energy Return on Time, A Net Energy Parable: Why is ERoEI Important?,
Ten Fundamental Principles of Net Energy

The energy dynamics of energy production.

Additional lists of peak oil links:

A few relevant books:


Additional books:

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus (1798)

 Books related to consumer psychology:

Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior, by Geoffrey Miller

The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption, by Gad Saad (2007)

Luxury Fever, by Robert H. Frank  (2000)


Hope for some possible energy "technofixes"  (knock on wood that they
arrive in time, are rapidly scalable, have a high EROEI,
are renewable, clean and cheap):

The wiki New Energy Congress reviews the most promising claims for up-and-coming clean,
renewable, affordable, reliable energy technologies, in order to come up with a weighted list
of recommendations of the best technologies. See, in particular, their Top 100 Technologies.
Some of these are controversial (a few might be criticized as outright cranks), while others are
scientifically proven and commercially available.  See, in particular, the MagLev Wind Power Generator.

Oil produced by genetically modified alg via photosynthesis.  See this article, as well as
SapphireEnergy and

Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion System (JTEC) claims an energy conversion efficiency
rate that tops 60 percent with a new solid-state heat to electricity closed loop engine.
Also see this article.

Extreme hybrid cars get 150mpg.   See AFS Trinity Power (and their videos).

Article: Powering Civilization to 2050

Scientific American: A Solar Grand Plan By 2050 solar power could end U.S.
dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions

The Energy Blog   /

Toward An Ecotechnic Society

 A List of Possible Solutions for the Energy and Climate Change Crisis

New process generates hydrogen from aluminum alloy to run engines, fuel cells
    &nbs p;   Slideshow:

Video: Electric cars   CBS segment on Tessla Motors and the GM Volt

100mpg plug-in hybrid cars - see this article.

Ultra-capacitors instead of batteries -- may give electric cars a 500 mile range on a 5 minute charge-up.

Oil shale may finally have its moment

Contrarian perspectives:

Apocalypse, Not. A Critical Look at Peak Oil Catastrophism, by Toby Hemenway

WSJ:  The World Has Plenty of Oil, By Nansen G. Saleri  
"Where do reasonable
    assumptions surrounding peak oil lead us? My view, subjective and imprecise, points
    to a period between 2045 and 2067 as the most likely outcome."

Websites:     /


Predicting the future is very difficult:

"Prediction is very hard, especially when it is about the future."
    -- Yogi Berra (and other various authorities)/

Complexity Theory and Environmental Management, by Michael Crichton.  Also see
      his article  Why Speculate?

"Most people assume linearity in environmental processes, but
the world is largely non-linear: it's a complex system. An
important feature of complex systems is that we don't know how
they work. We don't understand them except in a general way;
we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them,
we learn we don't. Sometimes spectacularly."

Some botched predictions  /  1927-1933 Chart of Pompous Prognosticators
Some botched predictions made in some popular films.  and in a 1958 Disney Animation.
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years, by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr.,
   Ladies Home Journal, 1900.

Youtube video: Global Warming and Other Catastrophes
      Humorous (?) look at previous botched predictions of pending world catastrophes
      in the media (to the soundtrack of REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It")

Some additional peak oil related graphics.

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