If you take a tour of the Internet on any given day, it’s hard to come away without a sense that things are going awry. Whether people are talking about climate change, breakdown of society, peak whatever — there is a feeling out there that maybe the best years of our civilization are behind us, and we should all maybe just hunker down in our bunkers and ride out the storm, whatever it might be.
Make no mistake: there is much to be concerned about. But note that the operative word here is concern. Not fear. Fear is the mind killer, as Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit would say. Concern, on the other hand, is merely the recognition of the reality of change. Concern allows us the opportunity to wade through the hype and decide on a measured response. Concern gives us the time to implement that response as painlessly as possible. Fear does not.
For example, there is much evidence to suggest that we have reached a condition called “peak oil.” In other words, there are no more “easy” oil fields to be found. The ones we have discovered to date are being used up, and what is left are the fields we originally passed over as being either too difficult or dangerous to drill (deep water), too energy intensive or environmentally destructive to extract (fracking), or just plain too dirty (tar oil). Does this mean that we are going to run out of oil tomorrow? Of course not. Does this mean the end of the world is coming? No. Is this going to radically alter our civilization? Most certainly. But not tomorrow, or even next week. We have some time.
What will happen is that oil, and its refined products, will get continue to get more expensive over time. This will alter the way in which we consume oil and its products. This will alter how the financial markets allocate capital. This will alter innumerable things about our society as it is forced to wean itself from its oil addiction. A concerned person will see this trend, take the time to separate the reality from the hype, and develop a plan to reduce his or her oil consumption long before this becomes an individual problem. A fearful person will jerk up and chaotically do whatever whenever hearing the code phrase “peak oil.” I think we can agree as to which is the better response.
Do you think water shortages are going to affect your area? Start enacting some simple conservation strategies now before it happens. Afraid of food shortages? Start a small garden now and learn how to preserve food. More power outages due to inclement weather? Start researching and implementing simple strategies now. Financial collapse? Create a deleveraging strategy and roll it into your financial planning. Not only will this help you to cut through the hype and fear, but you will already have a head start towards maintaining your lifestyle by the time everyone else begins to panic and lose their collective heads. That’s what I mean by the phrase “riding the curve down” — a measured response to managing change designed to minimize fear and, therefore, improve decision making.
Ride the curve down: incremental change enacted over a long period of time is simpler and less destabilizing than large change enacted in a short period of time. Incremental change allows you time to learn and evaluate. Incremental change is less painful, and can even be fun.
Ride the curve down: accepting change and planning for it allows you to incorporate technological advancement and increased understanding into your survival strategy. It allows you time to consume change in edible bites that are easier to digest. It provides you time to consider options and implement them when it makes sense to.
Ride the curve down: even worst case global warming is going to take decades to unfold. Certainly enough time to plan and incorporate into your lifestyle, in a considered and non-fearful way, that still allows room for you to enjoy your life.
Don’t jump: ride the curve down.