The End of Suburbia
What stood out most is the increment in suburbs which has led to heightened purchase of vehicles used to commute to work or move from place to place. Due to the increased vehicle purchases, fuel consumption has gradually increased considerably over the years. The film made me feel concerned about the future. The question that I posed to myself is what does the future hold for us once all the oil is depleted. What I learnt is that Suburbia to a great extent is linked to futures inevitable oil depletion. Suburbia developed as a result of the housing projects that availed housing to majority of the American citizens. The residents had to move away from the industrial cities as it was not a convenient place to live in.
Suburbia today has become the American dream characterized by spacious living, affordability, convenience and mobility. The resources are being misallocated raising questions to sustainability of the life. Does the Suburban dream have a future? The connection between Suburbia and oil peak is attributable to vehicles. The Suburbs were constructed away from the cities and towns where the people worked and so, they had to purchase cars. Supported by the cheap fossil fuel, the purchase of vehicles increased escalating the level of oil consumption in North America. The car purchases were also supported by the increase in highways and express ways. Suburbia not only consumes oil through driving but also through heating. Today, the people are still accustomed to that form of life style where if you want to get to work or buy lunch, you just have to hop in a car and drive off.
The black out that took place on August 2003 in Toronto was a major indicator of what is to come in the future. It affected vast operations and businesses affecting about 57 million people. The people blamed the blackout on faulty power lines and transmission but Mathew Simmons has a deeper belief concerning the issue. He believes North America is nearing depleting its resources due to poor resource planning. Right now, the whole world is at the peak where it is producing maximum. The level means we are almost nearing decline depicting that oil production all over the world will be lower. As stipulated by Michael Ruppert of Wilderness Publications, natural gas is slowly becoming scarce. Power plant expansions are now limited as they cannot be constructed without fuel to run them. It’s not viable to invest in such projects in the long run.
Some of the effects of peak oil I have been able to grasp from the film are escalation of oil prices as stated by Michael Ruppert. Slowly, the oil prices will go up as the resource will be limited in most parts of the Nation. The stock market will also be affected as one trillion dollars will be lost. The labor market will also feel the impact as two million jobs will be lost in North America. The middle class will also likely disappear as a result of peak oil. Economic ties will also be affected. For instance, America depends on Canada for almost about 15% of its natural gas which accounts for more than half of Canada’s total production. Oil peak will definitely cut oil business ties between the two nations for Canada to satisfy its local market. It will also likely initiate competition between Nations over oil in the Middle East and Asia. For instance, North America may have to compete over the resource with China which is the major producer in the World.
Food production will also be affected as most of it depends on power ranging from irrigation, water pumping, processing, packaging and transportation. The yields will reduce due to soil degradation. The soil is used to petroleum based chemicals to boost food production. A lot of people will have to engage in food production as lack of energy will make it labor intensive. Railway will be the major form of transport aiding move people and goods around. The local retailers will develop as they have currently been affected by the big retailers such as Walmart. The big retailers have greatly impacted commercial interdependency limiting local retail. Peak oil will also more likely affect the political arena. Leaders will be forced to make more oil procurements as Suburbia holds majority votes. It will tend to pose threat to the democratic systems o the Nation.
In order to solve the difficulty, stakeholders have to be realistic in finding solutions. The notion of hydrogen as an alternative source of energy source cannot help reform energy crisis in North America. Hydrogen takes a lot of energy to form than what it expends, its derived from methane a product of natural gas, it’s hard to transport and also highly explosive. Viable recommendations include New Urbanism which advocates for walking practices. Neighborhoods should encompass traditional walking systems by encompassing pavements in planning. People through this will adapt to walking around and limit driving. Attention also should be paid on energy consumption to help prevent the ‘Dark Age’.