World For All

Friday, April 22, 2005

End of Suburbia!

Saw this interesting documentary titled 'End of Suburbia' - it was about the Oil crisis that is too close and impact that it will have on way of living in US. It tells about the Suburban living which essentially has prospered because of the cheap availability of oil in the past many decades. As oil production 'peaks', expected to happen between 2005 and 2007, after that the demand of oil will continue to go up with China and India's growing economy, but there will be no way to increase the Oil Production, however much money you invest in exploration.

Documentary describes this peaking theory which was first introduced in around 1960 and was not believed. One of the predictions was that Oil production will peak in US in 1970s and second prediction was that global production will peak in 1990s. While not believed initially in 1960s, reality hit home when US production really peaked in early 1970s. Documentary goes onto say that Global peaking got delayed by a decade or so because of the Energy crisis of 1970s which slowed down the oil consumption!

Amongst the impacts, one of the big impacts can be on the way we consume. To take the example from the Documentary itself, consumers will find it costly to cosnume 'caesar salad' transported across the country currently because of the cheap oil and instead will seek more locally grown/produced goods. Transition may be tough as our markets have been transformed that they have no level of self-sufficiency but costlier oil may be an incentive to go back and build more of those linked and self-sufficient local markets.

On Housing, which you can guess from the Title, it says that smart Urban development may be the way to go in future. There will be shared transportation infrastructure and local markets, etc.

On the alternatives to oil as source of energy, it mentions that none of them are close to becoming real alternative and we have pretty short time before the problem will hit us hard! However, optimism was shared that like all times in the past, human mind is capable of solving the problems in a way that cannot be seen much in advance! So, for all you know, twenty years from now, we may be looking a giant discovery/invention that took us out of the energy crisis!

All in all - interesting to watch, if you have interest in this topic!

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