mast_img1.jpg Return to Home Page
Masthead Image 2

Peak Oil










The Karavans masthead photograph was taken by Colorado mountain biker and photographer Timmy Pitschka.

Doomers versus Cornucopians
The three schools of thought on Peak Oil's consequences
People who follow Peak Oil can be broken down into three distinct categories: Doomers, Cornucopians, and Moderates.  It helps to understand these classifications so that you can take certain articles, essays, and blogs with the requisite grain of salt.
Don't allow yourself to be swayed by either extreme pessimism or optimism. The middle path of pragmatism is always best in the long run. This site sticks to the middle-road.

Repent, the end is nigh!

Doomers believe that Peak Oil will trigger a worldwide depression followed by a famine which will lead to a major "die-off" in the human population. They envision the current world population being quickly reduced from 6.5 Billion to a few hundred million within 50 years or less. Many doomers are making preparations for a return to a hunter/gatherer life-style. As soon as society begins to break down, they will grab their escape kits and disappear into the forests and mountains to distance themselves as much as possible from the hungry, angry mobs in the cities.

You readily can find Doomer sites by searching on phrases such as "Peak Oil, collapse" or "Peak Oil, primitivism". If you enjoy movies such as Mad Max II (a.k.a., Road Warrior, try these sites.)

Don't worry, be happy. There are no limits to growth or resources. Ever.

Conversely, Cornucopians believe in the magical powers of technology and the market. They have a unshakable belief in the ability of technology combined with capitalism to solve any and all problems. Their position is that the Law of Supply & Demand will always rescue us at the 11th hour. When fossil fuel shortages drive prices up, Adam Smith's Invisible Hand will shift resources in the market towards providing alternative energy from solar and wind power.
Some Cornucopians are sincere in their beliefs while others are suspected of being fronts for special interests in the oil business who wish to discredit Peak Oil. The former are usually individuals while the latter are often members of consulting firms and "think tanks."

One of the main problems with the Cornucopian world view is its confusion between technology and energy. Technology is not in itself an energy source. However, technology requires energy to operate. Without energy, technology is as useful as a Ferrari with an empty gas tank.

Abiotic Oil
A subset of Cornucopians believe in the Theory of Abiotic Oil. While almost every credible geologist believes that fossil fuels are precisely that: fuel derived from fossils, a few people claim that the center of the earth is filled with oil which seeps to the surface over time and collects in the oil fields from which we have been pumping it for 150 years.

Even if the Abiotic Oil theory proves to be true the oil fields are simply not being replenished quickly enough to offset depletion. This would not be true if humanity could afford to wait another 100 million years for them to be topped up again.

As always the moderates are the most likely to have the truth

Moderates agree that Peak Oil is a major threat facing us but believe that when mankind is pushed up against the wall it will do whatever is necessary to ensure its survival. This will include swiftly cutting back on unnecessary energy consumption, as countries did during the second World War, substituting alternative and renewable energy for fossil fuels wherever possible, and even switching back to coal as a primary energy source for certain applications despite the pollution it creates. Moderates tend to focus their energies on both preparations for Peak Oil in order to protect themselves and their families and on solutions which will help to soften the landing for all of us. (As stated before, this site falls squarely in the Moderate Camp.)

Check out the blogs page for a list people who write about  Peak Oil issues from the three different perspectives.

Places where you can find sensible (i.e., moderate) discussions on Peak Oil include The Oil Drum which is a site run by a group of scientists and academics. The level of discourse there is very high and professional. Another highly recommended source of both news and articles is The Energy Bulletin. A third site is Peak Oil with its highly trafficked discussion forum populated by doomers, cornucopians, and moderates.

It's best to deal with Peak Oil as one would with other potential threats such as home fires and automobile accidents. Rather than over-reacting, one should begin to take steps to "insure" oneself against catastrophic losses in the event that it does occur as predicted by the more pessimistic experts.

Karavans | Eco-Living | Alt Energy | Transportation | Food
Community Building | About |

Solar Power

Wind Power


Emergency Kits



New Products


Business Services

Site and Content © 2006 to   - - All Rights Reserved.