"we are about halfway through that blip of oil, and that the first half we used was the cheap, easy, high quality oil, and that the second half would be increasingly difficult to extract, expensive, and of lower quality. I came to understand that timing wise, the important point wasn’t when we “run out,” but when we reach the peak – the all time high of production. The peak is the important thing, because our whole society is built around the idea of continual growth. Continual growth is dependent upon reasonably cheap energy resources, and we tend to just take for granted that they’ll always be there, and growth (with a few inconvenient ups and downs here and there) will always continue. After all, it’s all we’ve known…that is, until we get a bigger perspective than just the industrial/informational ages of the past 200 years.
Which brings us to this principle:
The principle of peaks: the enduring health of any system depends on the appropriate balance and integration of the rate of increase in resource flows and exchanges pre-peak and the rate of decline in those flows and exchanges after the peak, for a given context.
– Tim Winton, Pattern Dynamics
The above is an important principle, because I gradually became more and more aware that there is actually a lot more that is peaking than just oil supplies. I found out that some believed seafood may have peaked in 1994. In 2007 I wrote an article titled “Peak Everything“: “I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories as well about the dramatic decline of bees, and the slower but long term decline of many birds. Washington state alone has at least 39 endangered plant and animal species. …It becomes a bit overwhelming to think about and comprehend all of these problems at once and together, but it is quite important to do so. As long as we keep thinking about the problems we’re seeing with the world’s “resources” as isolated problems to be dealt with individually, the more likely we are to turn to technological band-aid solutions.” When I googled the phrase “Peak Everything,” I found that Richard Heinberg was working on a book with that exact title: Peak Everything: Waking Up To a Century of Declines. Another way to say it is that we are now in ecological overshoot and have reached the limits to growth."
* Book: Richard Heinberg. Peak Everything: Waking Up To a Century of Declines.