Insights · March 29th, 2007

It has been a while since a blog entry, not because there is nothing to say, but because there is too much.

William Irwin Thompson, the great historian, philosopher, futurist once said that history was accelerating at such a rate that world-changing events would begin to happen in months, weeks, even all at once. Perhaps it is only the existence of the Net that makes it seem that time has come. Every day, sometimes every hour, it seems some important news for the future emerges. A few observations:

Last night at a gala Washington DC correspondents’ dinner, the President joked about fired lawyers just as he once joked about missing weapons of mass destruction. Most revolting, presidential advisor Carl Rove, invited to join two comedians in an improv rap dance, joked that in his spare time he enjoys “ripping the [heads] off of small animals,” a theme then parodied in the rap song. Journalists joined in this dancing, and the crowd laughed and roared, in a scene that was downright ghoulish. I appreciate humor as much as the next person, but this was truly nauseating.

What does it have to do with the future? I thought as I watched, though it was in a way amusing it was mostly inappropriate, creepy, in bad taste. Then today I noted that blogger Paul Slansky proposed that “this hideous display of otherworldly shamelessness on the part of EVERYONE ON THE STAGE AND EVERYONE WHO LAUGHED OR APPLAUDED evokes nothing so much as those home movies of Hitler, Goering and pals partying while millions were being annihilated. This clip will be referenced by future historians as a key moment in the ongoing progression of America’s forfeiting all claims of moral superiority over any other nation.”

OK, that is pretty extreme. But I remember watching those black & white home movies and marveling that people in the midst of and even perpertrators of tragedy could be so, mirthful. Judge for yourself…

Second Item – Future of Oil

For some time I have followed the news about when we might reach peak oil, that moment when half the world’s oil will have been used up. There is debate about when this will happen, with opinions ranging from oil executives insisting that oil will not run out in our lifetimes, to those who argue that a peak is happening about now.

Of course the argument is mostly about so-called easy oil, and not the hard to harvest reserves that exist within tar sands and oil shale and deep, deep water. The most rational position is that relatively cheap and easy oil is peaking, or nearly peaking, and each succeeding barrel will be harder to get and more expensive. This alone has implications for economic futures.

Add to the discussion concerns about climate change, and the need to reduce burning of carbon, abundant or not, and the stage is set for the energy transformation that seems so likely, and needed, in the relatively near future. Think 25 years or so.

I suspect that most of you have a keen interest in this subject and how it will play out. Here are some valuable resources to pay attention to.

First, for a relatively balanced view of where we are relative to a peak, visit The Oil Drum often. Discussions can get quite esoteric here, but it seems to be the best at tracking the issue.

For a view that a car-centric, fossil-fuel dependent life style is about to come crashing down, visit Jim Kunstler’s blog. (I have been told that the name of this blog, can lead to some issues with corporate or institutional IT policies, but if you can get by that Jim always has something provocative to say.)

Is there a way out of our energy & climate fix? Not an easy way, or a single way. For lots of ideas, visit the Apollo Alliance project, founded by Rep. Jay Inslee (D) of the state of Washington. He is my local Congressman, and is to be commended for his dedication to this effort. He has a book in the works on the pathway the best energy future.

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Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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