There are a gazillion Peak Oil/Peak Everything blogs out there. Why write another one?
(Insert long thoughtful pause here! Or the sound of crickets.)
No, seriously. Why have this published every Monday morning at 6 AM, even if the traffic to this site gets a mere sliver of fraction of the main blogs on the blog roll?
A few good reasons:
- Discipline – The coming peaks (and most likely declines) in resources will require us to live quite differently, and in doing so, we’ve all got to stop being lazy, on many levels; from the physical, to the emotional, to the mental. This could mean losing weight, using a bicycle or public transportation more, learning how to deal with neighbors and coworkers, reducing extraneous expenses, expanding income streams – all things that require you to buckle down and do sometimes (initially) unpleasant things. By writing every week, this blog is part of a series of changes made in my own life (bicycling, keeping track of expenses, planning ahead) that need to be reinforced. Writing helps make me more (dare we say the world) ‘proactive’, and rather than passively reading lots of information on the ‘net, it forces me to come up with cogent thoughts, and makes me do more. It would be great to look back a year from now (if the power is still on, of course; most likely it will be) and see that the discipline took (in this endeavor and others).
- Self-Analysis – When you write, it forces to you to take those fleeting thoughts that are in your head, and organize your thoughts into something more reasonable. Now, this isn’t always possible or possible to do well, but the very process is important. The modern ‘click-through-links-and-skim’ style of web usage is a lot different when you are writing (this is another reason why my long hand letter writing discipline is also being reinforced). This leads to…
- To be a better writer , you must write! – It’s been said that, “When learning to write, you should be ready to throw away your first million words,” and this blog is part of that. Between this blog, typed and long hand letter writing, this my equivalent of training to run a marathon or a century. A few training runs won’t prepare you for an actual marathon, but a good training regimen over six months will get you to the finish line in some reasonable time!
- Awareness – The more folks that write and talk about our Energy/Environment/Economy (the three E’s) problems, the better off we’ll be. We need to have some serious discussions about these issues. One monolithic viewpoint (or even ten) won’t work, because of our built-in biases and the like (the podcast You Are Not So Smart is highly recommended for this). Of course, there are lots of viewpoints, as noted in by Albert Bates in a great graph he did in Charting Collapseniks. There are some crazy folks out there, for sure, and some writers may gets some facts (or calculations) wrong, but getting the general public talking takes some doing. There are going to be major differences of opinion (and people, like the Ray Kurzweils of the world who seem to think it is all going to be sunshine and roses after we download ourselves into computers), but having people even discuss this stuff is truly critical. How many people know about the three E’s, and talk about them? How many people have even heard of more than two people on that map, and have read any of the books by these writers that discuss these things? If you only hear from people in one quadrant of the map, you might want to expand your horizons a bit and hear what more than one person is saying from the other side of the aisle (or axis). Being aware of other viewpoints (and their logical reasons and fallacies) is another way of making your own arguments better, of course.
- Opening the discourse, and making it more pleasant – Probably the biggest reason for writing here (and hopefully, this is something helpful that can be brought into the fold) is to comment thoughtfully and civilly, both here and in the comments that are made in some of the other bigger blogs. Guy McPherson did a review on other blogs a few years ago, and although you may not agree with him, he does bring up some good points about the goings on elsewhere on the ‘net and the Peak Everything world. Alas, there is a bit of hard commentary that goes back and forth on many of the blogs I read, and I sometimes wonder if it is a bit too rough and tumble. This isn’t just a problem of the Internet of course – people have been rude, ranty, off-topic, and plain outright nasty in the real world since forever, it seems. My thesis here is that if more people write and comment in a nice and courteous manner, perhaps this will spread not only to other blogs, but other human endeavors as well. Two weeks ago, for example, hopdavid brought up some good points about someone else’s math being wrong, and a small and civil discussion ensued here. I learned something new, and hopdavid was pretty even-keeled. Now, as mentioned in that commentary, it isn’t easy when someone hits your hot-button issues (one of mine- the idiocy of trying to dictate interest rates – I’ll have to see how a future post on that goes!), but it was great to learn something new, and walk away from even a tiny discussion with feeling that the exchange of ideas wasn’t about ego, but about getting to the bottom of a serious problem.
As always – more questions-
- Why do you write?
- How do you keep yourself disciplined, for writing, or any other long term task? This isn’t some request for one particular self-help book (or series of them), but a request for real-world strategies you have used.
- In thinking about the last point above, what Peak Oil blogs or sites have the most civil place for discussions, without too much name calling?