BINGO! A picture post today on Resource Crisis hits the nail on the head:
Whenever the discussion of “why they hate us,” and “why do we have to be involved in the Middle East” pops up, any real discussion goes straight back to energy. If we were truly energy independent, we would probably give as much concern to the varied situations there as we did during the Rwandan genocide, and to boot, the folks there wouldn’t have the resources to either mount attacks on the West, or to spread ideologies that many of us scratch their heads over. The energy in fossil fuels (oil, especially) is the lifeblood of the modern world, and as a result, it translates to incredibly dense concentrations of money and power. Energy independence, however, is something that can be a bit problematic for those who want to keep you hooked on buying energy from them.
This, the obvious being said, one wonders when energy stops being the critical element in our society, and when the key element becomes water. Things that are unimaginable today, either politically, or physically, might be the norm. Someone recently pointed out the book The Water Knife to me (devoured in almost a day!), and in it, it has interstate commerce being drastically curtailed, the rise of arcologies, an incredibly increasing gap between the rich and poor, and a host of dystopian elements that look like something out of Soylent Green or Mad Max.
Might we see such things in our future? Only time will tell.
- Who will be the Saudi Arabia of water? The Great Lakes states? Greenland? Antarctica?
- What will happen to our political structures as water becomes more important?
- Water is significantly different than oil, in that it can be recycled more easily, is far more critical for daily life, but can also be ‘produced’ by some very low tech means. What would a water OPEC look like?
- What marginal religions or philosophies would be radically more powerful if water was the key to new empires in the 21st century?