I’m just beginning to get my head around the interrelatedness of ‘extreme energy’ – Fracking, the mining of Canadian Tar Sands & other types of ‘unconventional’ fossil fuel extraction – and the economic paradigm in which we live…

My understanding is that it has to do with what Michael Ruppert calls ‘the infinite growth paradigm’

here he is discussing exactly that –

(watch from 14:48)

Our economic system has developed in such a way that it demands growth. Or, putting it another way, without growth our economy will collapse.

Economic collapse is not desirable.

The exploitation of natural resources – most significantly fossil fuels – has and continues to be a source of economic growth.

There’s a couple of problems with our addiction to fossil fuels though. The first is that it’s by no means certain that we will be able to sustain current rates of production. In terms of oil it’s generally recognised that we’ve now exploited the easiest reserves. We’ve picked all the low hanging fruit. This is part of what’s driving the development of unconventional gas extraction.

The second problem is climate change. Our reliance on fossil fuels is changing the environment and threatening the balance of life on Earth.

We need to make a transition to a much less energy intensive way of life. We need to start making this transition now. The longer we wait the more severe the consequences are likely to be.

A key part of this transition is managing a shift to economic descent.

The trouble is that we’re stuck with an economy that demands growth.

And a political system that is largely a function of that economic paradigm.

It’s tempting to blame our political representatives. Some of them may be arseholes. Some of them may be corrupt. But the problems are systemic.

So I see all this as the background to the current government’s repeated attempts to persuade us that fracking is a good idea.

To our woefully misguided policy-makers, fracking looks like a solution to two problems – resource exhaustion and economic slowdown.

I suggest that as well as protesting against fracking, then, it’s also important to support campaigns for economic reform such as those being put forward by Positive Money and others.


About hughchapmansblog

Poet and performance maker based in Cambridge and London

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