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Peak Oil








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

Envisioning a new world as we enter the era of Energy Descent

Anybody who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
                                                   - Kenneth Boulding

The finite hydrocarbon energy that has fueled 150 years of unprecedented global industrialization and exponential population growth now appears to be nearing exhaustion. Many of us have wondered at one point or another how our lives would be affected if the world ran out of fossil fuels
. These thoughts are normally triggered by the now increasing numbers of news stories about rising fuel prices and shortages. Then they are quickly forgotten as soon as prices drop back a bit--but never all the way to the previous level.

Now there is growing concern that we have finally reached the point where the global fuel tank is nearing empty. Peak Oil, or the peak of Hubbert's Curve, appears to have arrived. Peak Oil does not mean that we run out of oil over night. Rather it means that we have entered a phase where demand will begin to outstrip supply over the long term. This will have an impact on everything in our lives.

The greatest energy windfall in history

The Age of Oil, which began in 1856, provided mankind with the cheapest energy source it has ever enjoyed. It was oil that enabled us to enter the Industrial Age and and expand global population at an alarming rate from just over one billion around 1805 to 6.5 Billion in 2005. It's no exaggeration to call fossil fuel the greatest energy windfall in history. Without it, we would still be living a life similar to that experienced in the 1850s.

[William] Catton argues that the human race living off the "draw down" of nonrenewable fossil fuel resources is the equivalent of the algae in a pond enjoying a temporary rush of nutrients in one brief season. 
                            - James Kunstler in The Long Emergency

...the industrial age is a pulse waveform, a single,
bell-shaped, nonrepeating curve centered on 1979.
                                                        - John Michael Greer

Turn out the lights, the party's over

Peak Oil or the end of the age of cheap fossil fuels will mean dramatic changes for all of us and the way in which we live. There's far more to dealing with this enormous transition than simply trading in your SUV for a Prius. Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, can only replace a fraction of our current energy requirements. So-called "hydrogen energy" is viewed by the scientific community as little more than a cruel hoax.  

In the words of Ed Ayres, editorial director of the World Watch Institute, we face "something so completely outside our collective experience that we don't really see it, even when the evidence is overwhelming. For us, that 'something' is a blitz of enormous biological and physical alterations in the world that has been sustaining us."

The long emergency

There are two typical reactions to this news: denial or a sense of hopelessness. Most people opt for the former after first dismissing the news with nothing more than, "Don't worry, someone will come up with something to make it go away." A minority digs deeply into the available research material and then sinks into a sense of hopelessness.

Your information hub for sustainable living

In crisis lies opportunity.
                                                              - Chinese proverb

There is, however, a third way to respond. We can recognize the fact that we can use Peak Oil to finally take a proactive role in shaping our lives and communities as the world enters into power descent, rather than merely being passive victims. To avoid doing so is to forfeit a watershed opportunity to shape our and our children's future for the better.

This is what Karavans is all about: creating a positive vision for tomorrow and acting towards its implementation. In a time of rapid change and dramatic transformation, Karavans serves as a hub for disseminating new ideas, information, tools, and techniques for those committed to acting proactively.
Specifically, Karavans will cover unlocking of the food supply, moving off-the-grid, renewable energy, self-sufficiency, community and local economy building, ecological design, permaculture, and other matters germane to sustainable life-styles as the world powers down.

What's New?
We'll keep you updated on additions to the site

If you are a first time visitor, this page Eco-Living is recommended as the starting point for your exploration of Karavans.

David Korten's newest book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community is now available. Read the book and then join us for The Great Turning discussion in the Karavans forum.

We have teamed up with Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari to bring you her eye-opening seminars on the tapeworm economy and what we can do as individuals and communities to rid ourselves of it.  Read a transcript of a talk she gave on the tapeworm economy here.

The US Army Acknowledges That Peak Oil is a Real Threat
Read up on the recently released report by the US Army on Peak Oil.

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