Christopher Steiner’s new book is thought provoking to say the least. Twenty dollars per a gallon of gas seems like an outrageous, unfathomable price, even when you’re a believer in peak oil. But part of the beauty of Steiner’s book is its ability to track the effects of ever-more-scarce oil in believable detail. Whether the author’s predictions of local food, high-speed trains and alternative plastics are correct, they are excellent illustrations of the pervasiveness of petroleum.
Steiner doesn’t drop you straight into a oil-expensive world: he eases you into it by dollar amounts, painting a picture of the world at $6, $8, $10 a gallon. It probably won’t be a straight line of ever-increasing prices, but, Steiner argues, rise they will, and the systems we’ve built on the assumption of cheap fuel will adapt or die as a result.
He brings to light certain examples: tuna caught in Canada which is largely purchased in Japan, for instance. He also claims school buses, SUVs, and many police patrol cars will go the way of dinosaurs. Steiner gets so specific as to predict which airline companies will fail and which alternative energy projects will succeed, based on market research and interviews with industry professionals.
And you know what?
He’s right. And these ‘problems’ we have are but gifts to ourselves. They are puzzle for us to learn how to adapt and rediscover our powerful inner nature. We will adapt electric vehicles because of the consequences of our oil addiction. We will harness unlimited solar energy when we grow tired of nuclear accidents. All is well. Keep calm and carry on