Be afraid…be very afraid.

This article appeared in yesterday’s morning newspaper. I find it very worrying.

What worries me is this:

In the industrial world (which includes our country), we have built a whole way of life around a finite, non-renewable energy supply, one that we have become totally dependent upon for our food and water.

Ninety-one percent of that supply for our particular country comes from overseas.

If that supply failed for any reason, no-one in our government knows how much we have in reserve.

No-one in our government is even preparing for what might happen in the event of a supply failure.

If that supply failed, in very short order, transport would come to a grinding halt. No food deliveries to shops, no ambulances, no fire services, no police.

What would you do in such a situation? Are you prepared? Does it even worry you?

I’ve been told, when I try to bring this to people’s attention: “they will think of something”.

If ‘they’ haven’t thought of it by now and aren’t even bothering to think about it, then where does that leave us?.

On a similar matter, this came from a recent commenter at Our Finite World blog:

The possibility that something bad could happen, and that governments would not warn people, is beyond peopleโ€™s understanding.

And a commenter in reply said:

Itโ€™s entirely arguable whether governments warning people, especially if they suspect the worst is coming, is even advisable.

Oh, yes!

The thought that pretty much everything we need depends on the continued operation of that one refinery in Singapore, well….it doesn’t actually keep me awake at night, but pretty close to it.

I keep a year’s supply of food in the cupboard; I have a water tank; a toilet that doesn’t need to be flushed; a reasonable but far from perfect food garden; 3 means of cooking (electricity, gas & wood) and (I hope), supportive neighbours.

Still I don’t like the thought of what might happen. I don’t like being dependent on a system run by a group of people who haven’t a clue and care even less about people like me.

 

 

 

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17 Responses to “Be afraid…be very afraid.”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    Great post Bev, and very true.
    I mentioned our petrol vulnerability recently, among other things of current interest, in a Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/bernie.edwards.58173/posts/718767731576941 I hope people can see that. If not, here is the text:

    The RBA cuts the official cash rate to 2.25% in order to stimulate the economy and bring the A$ down further. What does that tell us about the Australian economy?

    Just like everywhere else, and as expected (at least as I expected and predicted), it is going nowhere, except down.

    I don’t think .25% is going to provide much in the way of stimulus. Whatever little stimulus it may provide in the short term is going to be swamped by, among other things, the negative stimulus of job losses, together with the loss of the income those jobs provided, occurring in increasing numbers as the year progresses.

    People are struggling to manage now and even with currently (for a short while) cheaper petrol prices (which is one reason for the job losses) there will be even less consumer spending in the months ahead.

    Even those who are feeding the economy by continuing to buy homes at inflated prices (especially in Sydney and Melbourne) are, along with those who already have bought in the past few years, when the bubble bursts, going to find themselves in a debt situation from which they are never going to be able to escape.

    Those also, who continue to buy expensive new motor vehicles, along with those who already have done in the last few years, will find themselves in the same relative position. We are in for a wild ride with oil/petroleum products this year, and with Australia owning no onshore refining capability our motorists and transport systems are in for some rude shocks I think. I would not be surprised to see a prolonged complete national economic shutdown at some stage.

    I predict that Central Banks like the RBA will become a thing of the past as our financial systems implode. If not this year, then within the next few.

    Taking all of these things into consideration, I think this year Australia is about to see the start of a new generation of street dwellers from home foreclosures and rental evictees. We may find ourselves without much to eat too, as international trade slows down (or stops), agricultural production ceases and farmers walk off the land. Drinking water may also be a problem as rainfall continues to decrease (or dramatically increase) and our artesian basins, rivers and waterways are irreparably contaminated by CSG mining chemicals.

    Forewarned is forearmed. If you take any notice of it.

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks for posting that, Bernie. I don’t do Facebook. What sort of response did you get? I agree with you, incidentally, and yes, most will take no notice until it’s too late.

      Like

      • notsomethingelse Says:

        Ah, no response. I have only a few Facebook friends plus a few followers. I suppose when I comment on someone else’s page, which I do occasionally, someone may take a look at what I do, but I don’t write stuff with the expectation that many, often even my family, will read it. But the process of doing it is, I find, very therapeutic, and you never know who is snooping around or just taking a look.

        I am certainly not looking for popularity. Notoriety, maybe ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

  2. narf77 Says:

    That’s what makes it so important for us to spread the word at a grassroots level. Showing people by example is much more effective than hitting them over the head with a hammer. Most of them NEED hitting over the head with a hammer as they live in their ivory towers where ‘not in my lifetime’ is the call of the day but it’s a case of ‘softly, softly, catchy monkey’ with most people. You creep up on them and show them the error of their ways INSIDE their ivory towers where they can’t escape.

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Unfortunately, I am very handy with a hammer ๐Ÿ˜‰ Mostly though, in order to stay sane, I have to ignore those sorts of people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • narf77 Says:

        Steve is very handy with a hammer as well Bev. I am very VERY glad that he is also very dexterous with one as it is usually “me” holding the stakes! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I flat out bypass those sorts of people because life is too short to die of a heart attack through rage and I prefer to channel my efforts in the direction of people who actually give a damn and don’t know where to start.

        Like

  3. Bek Says:

    So true. I don’t have anywhere near a year’s supply of food but I’d have at least a few months, and what I could eat from the garden. Water would be my biggest challenge as water tanks of other storage have not been possible as yet for various reasons. Transport I reckon I could manage though, I love my bike!

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      You’re doing pretty well by all accounts with your food garden. Do think about even a small water tank, though, or something to catch drinkable water in.

      The bike will be great in an emergency, but if there’s no food in the shops, probably not all that useful, except to visit friends, but then maybe only if they have food you can barter for. Depends how bad things become. Ideally one’s neighbours should all be preparing likewise and then shank’s pony will be all you’ll need ๐Ÿ˜‰ but we don’t live in an ideal world, unfortunately.

      Like

  4. Eve Inbetta Says:

    I think it’s a really important issue but I’m not sure the emergency services would fail in this event. I think most of the pressure would be put on general consumers but industry and government would be supported to keep running

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      So assume imports of refined fuel stop completely for some reason. Assume we have only (say) 60 day’s supply. So after 60 days, what happens? No fuel for any form of transport. Supermarkets empty out through lack of deliveries. No police, no fire brigade, no ambulances and no cars on the road. Industry stops completely (no inputs, no outputs). Australia wide.

      Of course if supply is cut off, we’d hope the government appreciates the threat immediately and brings in rationing. It would be nice to think they even have a plan in place for such an event. But all I’ve read suggests they don’t. There have been numerous reports to parliament on our oil vulnerability and all have been ignored. There is no Plan B. When we have an ecologically-ignorant PM who thinks climate change is crap, why would there be a Plan B?

      Of course, rationing would extend the 60 day’s supply to…how long? How long would it be before people’s meagre food supplies ran out? Imagine fights in the supermarket over the last remaining food supplies. Think post-Christmas sales, only 100 times worse. This is about survival, not about a bit of a discount on some useless consumer item. (Assume that water would still be pumped to homes. But wait a bit, what is the energy source for water pumping? Do you know? I don’t know. Is it oil? Would it continue?).

      Most people aren’t seeing the total dependency our society has on fossil fuels, particularly oil which fuels over 90% of transport. Most people have done no research on peak oil. Most people are not aware that the world is running out of oil. Most people are not aware that there is no combination of energy sources presently existing that will allow society to function the way is has been.

      That’s why this post has the title it does.

      Like

      • notsomethingelse Says:

        Adding to what you have said, we also need to consider possible reasons for a cessation of petroleum imports to Australia.

        Most (90%, soon to be 100%) of our petrol is imported from singapore http://www.smh.com.au/business/how-global-instability-could-threaten-the-countrys-fuel-supplies-20110314-1bugt.html, which in turn relies on oil supplies from the Middle East. So, while the reasons may be regional, they are more likely to be global in nature.

        Incidentally, we do not have 60 days supply at any one time, but only 3 weeks. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/fuel-security/5278572

        So, if Singapore decides, or is coerced, into not doing business with us any more we have just 3 wks to sort out a new fuel source. If, on the other hand, the issue is global, then Australia, being an island, would be totally isolated and depending on the nature of the problem perhaps left forever to its own devices, not just for transport but for everything that we consume. Why do I say that?

        We live in a globalised economy which is entirely dependent on a global transport system, mainly shipping. Any threat to that transport system would immediately result in a withdrawal of Letters of Credit due to the banking and insurance risks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_credit

        From that time onward, no ship would leave any port, anywhere in the world, for any reason. A situation that could well last forever. Imagine what that would mean for all forms of industry and commerce.

        What if the threat to world commerce centered around a dwindling supply of oil and oil products (which covers pretty much everything made and sold)? What if that dwindling supply of oil was terminal? Never to resume? That is something we are imminently facing, whether we like it or not.

        The title of Bev’s piece is quite apt in such circumstances.

        Like

        • foodnstuff Says:

          Thanks for those extra links, Bernie. It’s all so incredibly complex. When it goes, the crash will echo around the world. The only survivors will be those people lucky enough to be living outside the complexities of industrial capitalism.

          Like

      • Eve Inbetta Says:

        I guess, yeah, there is a very slim chance that it could go down that way. But my feeling is that it will go the way it usually does – at a slower rate that puts pressure on low income earners the most. When the pressure hits the middle class, industry starts to innovate (alternate fuels, more hybrids, more solar-run). So, while these events cause disaster on an individual level (people who can’t afford to run their car, can’t sell it because it is fuel-inefficient, can’t work without a car, can’t pay their bills, etc) and increase inequality in society (which, to me, is a disaster also) I just don’t think it would be as Armageddon-y.

        Of course, it very well could be. In which case, even those people who are personally prepared will not be protected as they would be overrun by other people trying to take their resources.

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        • foodnstuff Says:

          So you’re quite confident there won’t be Armageddon, because you’re confident there won’t be any fuel supply problems, because the world esp. the Middle East where most of the oil comes from, is a happy contented place with no problems that can’t be solved. Slim chance = not worth worrying about. Me, I worry. The chances are bigger than slim. Much bigger.

          It takes resources (& energy) to make hybrids, solar panels, wind turbines etc etc, and surprise, surprise, the world is running out of those resources as well as oil.

          I suspect you still have a lot of homework to do on the approaching crises.

          At least you’re correct in your last paragraph. There will be a massive increase in the death rate.

          Like

          • notsomethingelse Says:

            Sorry to keep butting in Bev. Last time on this.

            At least Eve is thinking about these things, which is more than a lot of folk do. We all take a stand on just where on the disaster spectrum we see things headed, and any of us could be right. Until it happens, we just don’t know.

            Personally, I am pretty much aligned with your thoughts, mainly because I know that you know that oil, and resources generally, is/are not the only forces playing out in and effecting our present and future.

            When we consider the disruptions that will almost inevitably if not surely come our way from one or more additional sources: climate change (not least effecting our ability to feed ourselves), financial collapse (whether or not resource driven), unfettered population overshoot (the Petrie dish effect), and not least, potential global conflict (for any number of reasons), we cannot fail to be alerted and alarmed about how we are going to manage to come out the other end of the period of chaos that I personally cannot bring myself to think will not ensue. Even if there will ever be an end to it.

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            • foodnstuff Says:

              Butt in as much as you want. It’s nice to know someone else out there understands. If there’s two of us saying the same things, people might sit up and take notice. Nobody listens to me anyway, but I keep ranting on ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Like

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