The Party's Over: Chapter Intro Quotes

>> Thursday, January 10, 2008

Since I loved the quotes featured at the beginning of each chapter of this book, I'm going type them all up for future reference.


The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert, and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them: the mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.
-- Jean Baudrillard (1989)
It is evident that the fortunes of the world's human population, for better or for worse, are inextricably interrelated with the use that is made of energy resources.
--M. King Hubbert (1969)
There is no substitute for energy. The whole edifice of modern society is built upon it... It is not "just another commodity" but the precondition of all commodities, a basic factor equal with air, water, and earth.
-- E. F. Schumacher (1973)
Chapter 1: Energy, Nature and Society
The life contest is primarily a competition for available energy.
-- Ludwig Boltzman (1886)
Other factors remaining constant, culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased. We may now sketch the history of cultural development from this standpoint.
-- Leslie White (1949)
[T]he ability to control energy, whether it be making wood fires or building power plants, is a prerequisite for civilization.
-- Isaac Asimov (1991)
Chapter 2: Party Time: The Historic Interval of Cheap, Abundant Energy
In 1859 the human race discovered a huge treasure chest in its basement. This was oil and gas, a fantastically cheap and easily available source of energy. We did, or at least some of us did, what anybody does who discovers a treasure in the basement--live it up, and we have been spending this treasure with great enjoyment.
-- Kenneth E. Boulding (1978)
Oil has literally made foreign and security policy for decades. Just since the turn of this century, it has provoked the division of the Middle East after World War I; aroused Germany and Japan to extend their tentacles beyond their borders; the Arab Oil Embargo; Iran versus Iraq; the Gulf War. This is all clear.
-- Bill Richardson, Secretary of Energy (1999)
Whether we are talking of an individual citizen or a whole community, "cataclysmic wealth" can have disastrous consequences... Its use rises sharply to create new habits and expectations. These habits are accompanied by an irrational lack of care about usefulness or waste. The process develops habits in individual people, and institutions in whole societies, which accustom them to operating on the basis of excess and wastefulness; and, although different episodes have different endings, one prospect sees the affected groups, long after the cloudburst of wealth has passed, trying every kind of expedient--borrowing, sponging, speculating--to try to ensure that the private habits or public institutions of excess and waste are maintained. The result is at best a measure of social disintegration; at worst, collapse.
-- Barbara Ward (1977)
Forests to precede civilizations, deserts to follow.
-- Francois Rene Chateaubriand (ca. 1840)
Chapter 3: Lights Out: Approaching the Historic Interval's End
Pangloss is admired, and Cassandra is despised and ignored. But as the Trojans were to learn their sorrow, Cassandra was right, and had she been heeded, the toil of appropriate preparation for the coming adversity would have been insignificant measured against the devastation that followed a brief season of blissful and ignorant optimism...
Today, Cassandra holds advanced degrees in biology, ecology, climatology, and other theoretical and applied environmental sciences. In a vast library of published books and papers, these scientists warn us that if civilization continues on its present course, unspeakable devastation awaits us or our near descendants...
As a discomforted public, and their chosen political leaders, cry out "Say it isn't so!", there is no shortage of reassuring optimists to tell us, "Don't worry, be happy."
We sincerely wish that we could believe them. But brute scientific facts, and the weakness of the Panglossian arguments, forbid.
-- Ernest Partridge (2000)
... by early in the twenty-first century, the era of pumping "black gold" out of the ground to fuel industrial societies will be coming to an end.
-- Paul Ehrlich (1974)
We've embarked on the beginning of the last days of the age of oil.
-- Mike Bowlin, Chairman and CEO, ARCO (1999)
My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel.
-- Saudi saying
Chapter 4: Non-Petroleum Energy Sources: Can the Party Continue?

Under the rule of the "free market" ideology, we have gone through two decades of an energy crisis without an effective energy policy... We have no adequate policy for the development or use of other, less harmful forms of energy. We have no adequate system of public transportation.
-- Wendell Barry (1992)
The pattern of preferences for using energy efficiency to decreas demand and [for renewable energy sources] to supply energy has been consistent in the poll data for 18 years. This is one of the strongest patterns identified in the entire data set on energy and the environment.
-- Dr. Barbara Farhar (2000)
Nonrenewable resources should be exploited, but at a rate equal to the creation of renewable substitutes.
-- Herman Daly (1992)
Continuing to increase our dependency on petroleum consumption is clearly a suicidal course of action. The only intelligent alternative is to begin reducing energy consumption and finding alternative energy sources to substitute for petroleum.
-- Paul Ehrlich (1974)
Total energy consumption is projected to increase from 96.1 quadrillion British thermal units (BTU) to 127.0 quadrillion BTU between 1999 and 2020, an average annual increase of 1.3 percent.
-- U.S Department of Energy (1999)
Chapter 5: A Banquet of Consequences
Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
-- Kenneth Boulding (ca. 1980)
If we continue... to consume the world until there's no more to consume, then there's going to come a day, sure as hell, when our children or their children or their children's children are going to look back on us--on you and me--and say to themselves, "My God, what kind of monsters were these people?"
-- Daniel Quinn (2000)
Current debates over where and how to drill for oil in this country soon may be rendered irrelevant by a nation desperate to maintain its quality of life and economic productivity. War over access to the diminishing supply of oil may be inevitable unless the United States and other countries act now to develop alternatives to their dependence on oil.
-- Senator Mark Hatfield (1990)
We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.
-- George W. Bush (2002)
Sooner or later, we sit down to a banquet of consequences.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson (ca. 1885)
Chapter 6: Managing the Collapse: Strategies and Recommendations
We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on.
-- Kurt Vonnegut
We must face the prospect of changing our basic ways of living. This change will either be made on our own initiative in a planned way, or forced on us with chaos and suffering by the inexorable laws of nature.
-- Jimmy Carter (1976)
To avoid deprivation resulting from the exhaustion of nonrenewable resources, humanity must employ conservation and renewable resource substitutes sufficient to match depletion.
-- Ron Swenson (2001)
We can't conserve our way to energy independence, nor can we conserve our way to having enough energy available. So we've got to do both.
-- George W. Bush (2001)


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