The following is from an email from Chris, who lives and works in Alice Springs, Australia. It offers an interesting perspective on hitting the peak oil wall in resource exploitation, the scant possibilities of continuing family life as we know it post-peak, and on what it means to be a native (in the truest sense).
“Peakers” are still rare out here. I met my 1st one here in 1972. Not in the fully developed intellectual sense; yet nonetheless prophetic.
An aboriginal school teacher at the time, a friend of my fathers. I was five years old, a migrant from the USA, I wanted to know how aboriginal people saw white people.
His response was unforgettable: “You guys say we’ve been here 40,000 years; we say since the dreamtime. You may as well call it forever. You guys got here yesterday and tomorrow, you’ll be gone. But we will still be here.”
I know some cattlemen here who 5 years ago were burning $40,000 in diesel to run split system air conditioners to keep a whole house cool through the long hot desert summer. Of course these costs are moving exponentially. This seems to be a crazy amount to be spending on micro climate control; yet the purpose is to make it livable for non native women. One farmer told me that when the generator breaks down his wife just jumps in the car and drives 400 miles to Darwin; she will stay in an air conditioned motel until the generator is fixed. Without these women, the outback white community will cease to exist.
This is just the tip of an iceberg emerging through the fog out here in the desert. A huge amount of the economy is based on speculative ventures in mining, for example, where all of the feasibility projections are assuming ridiculously low energy costs. Major negotiations are underway towards a huge boost in uranium mining, huge royalties will go to largely mal adjusted aboriginal people as cash. The Government is by far the biggest employer and spender out here, largely on programs designed to help the Aboriginal people here. Of course they are mostly designed to help make these people more like whites; generally they are a dismal failure.
In short, my father’s friend’s philosophical perspective nearly forty years ago, seems ripe fruit soon ready for harvest.