James Kunstler, who writes and speaks on the coming environmental, oil and economic crunch, has a central thesis. Oil is running out, and the coming scarcity will have profound effects on all parts of society and business.
One example from his scenario. Housing prices in the outer suburbs will plummet as the price of oil rises. Trucking goods to thousands of identical big box malls will get prohibitively expensive, thus dooming Wal-Mart and similar mega-chains. The cost of commuting will soar. Economies and businesses will become increasingly more localized.
In his blog, he presents ideas for what to do.
Expand your view beyond the question of how we will run all the cars by means other than gasoline.
This is his central point. The auto must go. It is the problem, not the solution.
We have to produce food differently. The ADM / Monsanto / Cargill model of industrial agribusiness is heading toward its Waterloo.
Any business based on large quantities of cheap oil will have problems, agriculture included, especially with all that fertilizer that uses oil products during its manufacture.
We have to inhabit the terrain differently. Virtually every place in our nation organized for car dependency is going to fail to some degree.
We have to move things and people differently. This is the sunset of Happy Motoring (including the entire US trucking system). Get used to it.
Life in the USA will have to become much more local.
Factor in the effects of global warming on top of his somewhat apocalyptic visions, and it’s clear the time for action is now. Our world will be changing fast, and in unpredictable ways, now that peak oil and global warming are happening at the same time. Both problems are caused by the same processes and both have the same solutions.