Pin It
favorite

Nightmare Truths 

I had a terrible dream the other night. For reasons that weren't entirely clear in the dream, the social and political order of the United States had broken down. Night was falling and martial law had been declared. People were packing up their belongings—and weapons—and heading into the hills while others hunkered down in their homes. I ran frantically through the house looking for guns, ammunition, food, batteries, sleeping bags and anything else I could think of to prepare myself and my family for the coming anarchy. Trouble was, I didn't know where my family was and I was terribly worried for their safety.

I figured my best bet was to set up camp in the mountains while I tried to figure out the whereabouts of my wife and children. On the way out of town, I stopped at a Italian restaurant where the owner and his family gave me the last bit of food that remained in the display case, a slice of pizza and some mozzarella cheese, if I remember correctly. Minimally provisioned, I headed out into the fear-filled night. I woke up with my heart beating hard in my chest. It didn't take much analysis to figure out what had fueled my nightmare. The day before, I had read an analysis of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by Richard Heinberg, a fellow at Santa Rosa's Post-Carbon Institute and author of Blackout: Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis. Heinberg, who has been sounding the peak-oil alarm for years, warns that as easy-to-access oil and coal dries up disasters like the ghastly BP spill will become more common as we are forced to greater lengths to tap harder to reach, riskier petroleum deposits.

"The Deepwater Horizon disaster reminds us that, of all nonrenewable resources, oil best deserves to be thought of as the Achilles heel of modern society," Heinberg writes. "Without cheap oil, our industrial food system—from tractor to supermarket—shifts from feast to famine mode; our entire transportation system sputters to a halt."

As a food-centric person, my mind naturally goes to food. As much as soil and water, our food system depends on cheap oil and gas for transportation, pesticides and fertilizers. Remove oil from the equation, and watch governments fall, riots ensue and death by starvation march across the globe.

If you buy the peak-oil argument—that at some point, regardless of price, oil production reaches a maximum rate and begins to decline—it's hard not to believe that unless we start to wean ourselves from oil immediately, a global food crisis is a question of when, not if. These are the things that wake me up at night.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Small Bites

  • Crop Report: Spring Grass

    It's asparagus season, so why is there so little of it?
    • Apr 15, 2015
  • Sausage Party

    New butcher shop offers retail and unique services
    • May 28, 2014
  • Autumn Delight

    A Sinatra dinner, a Snoopy Thanksgiving and Model Bakery's new cookbook
    • Nov 13, 2013
  • More »

More by Stett Holbrook

  • Golden State Wolf

    New documentary celebrates lone wolf's journey into California
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • Let's Go to Papas

    Sebastopol restaurant is a West County classic
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • More »

Find It

Boho Beat

Aug. 29-30: See Food in Bodega

Aug. 29: Expansive Exposure in Novato

Aug. 30: Crop Report in Santa Rosa

More »

Facebook Activity

Most Commented

  • Enticing and Ethical

    Go vegan with two North Bay events
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • Yes They Can

    Sussing out the suds: Does craft beer taste different from a can?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • More »

Twitter

Read more @nbaybohemian

Copyright © 2015 Metro Newspapers. All rights reserved.

Website powered by Foundation