Peak Oil & EvPsy

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Peak Oil & EvPsy


     Peak Oil Overview

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

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


   "Oil peaking will be catastrophic, beyond anything I have seen...
    We are about to drive the car over the cliff and say, `Oh my God,
    what have we done?' "

           -- Robert L. Hirsch, Ph.D.,  US Department of Energy consultant.

  "Itís a perfect storm headed our way -- a steady rise in global demand
   for oil crashing up against an increasingly limited supply of economically
   recoverable oil."
-- William Chameides, Ph.D.,  Professor of Environmental
                      Science, Duke University

  " ... (we) cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term
    security, on a resource that will eventually run out."

            -- President Barack Obama, 3/3/2011





I initially developed this webpage for my students, especially those in
my Ecological Psychology course.   The goal was to provide a succinct
overview of peak oil, and a "heads up" about the social and personal challenges
that we will need to confront in the near future as oil reserves and
oil production gradually go into decline.

As of now, we have no renewable energy source nor combination of sources
that can replace the amount of energy we have been able to get from oil.   That is,
renewable energy cannot produce even a small fraction of the energy that
is needed to power industrial / technological civilization.

Most people are unaware of this, and learning about it for the first time
comes as something of a shock.

Unless some new "energy scientific miracle" is discovered very soon (e.g., some
new energy source as game-changing as, for example, nuclear fusion) the
oxygen of modern civilization -- energy -- will be thinning over the next several decades. 

The world's debt-based economies, which depend on ever increasing
economic growth to survive, will be gasping for air.

This web page is divided into the following topics, which will be explored
in turn: 

bulletEcological overshoot as a general problem in population biology.
bulletThe possibility of avoiding a human Mathusian collapse via
a Kurzweillian "techno-fix"
bulletPeak oil as a an example of human ecological overshoot.
bulletPossible economic and social scenarios following peak oil.
bulletContributions by psychological science, and evolutionary
psychology in particular, that may help to mitigate these problems.



To listen to an audio of these webpage, click on the link or right
click to download MP3.

If this is your first introduction to peak oil, you may wish to bookmark
this page.  It is a bit much to take in all at once.   You may also wish
to return to view some of the video clips that you might skip over
on the first reading.   And, psychologically, it takes some time for
much of the information that is presented here to really sink in.  All of
us living in developed countries have always had cheap gasoline
readily available.  It is difficult to even imagine otherwise.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Ecological Overshoot

Chapter 2. Peak oil as a an example of human ecological overshoot

Chapter 3. Possible economic and social scenarios following peak oil

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