Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dangerous curves

In August 2003, we were living in the Midwest, and we sweltered through a terrible heatwave -- which led to the most recent great blackout in the US, which sent us back to pre-electric days.

This made me even more attuned to the stress that climate change is placing on our electrical grid (a failure of which was the proximate cause of that blackout, the real cause of which is our blockheaded habit of thinking that we don't have to live within any natural limits and that we can use as much energy as we want to bail us out of our poor decisions, such as to build millions of houses and commercial office buildings so that they must draw immense amounts of energy at all times).

So I've been following this curve quite closely this week.


Snarfy said...

Oooh, pre electric days.. if anyone wants to look at that from a fictional standpoint, I highly recommend "Dies the Fire" by S.M. Stirling. For an unknown reason, the lights go out. No phone, no lights, no cars, no planes.. which means that food can't be shipped in, water can't be heated on a stove.. it opened my eyes to how much I depend on cars and electricity. Best part is, it takes place right here in the Willamette Valley :)

Walker said...

Interesting recommendation, thanks. Speculative fiction is probably more valuable than many people realize in terms of helping us visualize something other than the mass die-off, "Mad Max" outcome of energy descent.
Here's more about that book: