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Will Peak Oil Collapse Civilization As We Know It?

Updated on March 22, 2012

Peak Oil has been around for a number of years but we are ignoring it as best we can

Peak oil is one of the biggest things to hit mankind since the atom bomb. They both have the power to destroy mankind, but one we keep a close eye. And the other we carry on as if it doesn’t exist.

Peak oil would be one of the most hushed up stories in the media. And the main reason is us. We want action now but peak oil is like a slow growing cancer. It slowly and insidiously invades our way of life but we do nothing about it. Then Bang it’s on us and there is not enough oil left for us to change to a oil-less society.

At present mankind is worrying what the weather will be like in 2030. And I’m wondering if any semblance of society will exist in 2030. Peak Oil is going to cause severs problems in most parts of the globe. And western civilization as we know it will not exist the way it is without oil.

Because this is a new era we don’t know what the world will be like without oil. We haven’t lived without oil for over 150 years. But we are going to have to. Mankind has so far survived everything the planet has thrown at him. Civilizations have collapsed before and mankind is still here so we can safely assume mankind is not ready for extinction yet, we hope.

Most past cultures crashed because they ran out of a natural resource. Whether it was water or trees, running out caused vast empires to collapse so us running out of oil is no different. Past civilizations didn’t realize they were going to collapse and neither do we.

Is peak oil are real threat to our future or just something to pass the time?

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    • plegrove profile image

      plegrove 9 years ago from New Zealand

      Peak oil is very real but we are hiding behind global warming so in my view global warming is just a smokescreen to keep us occupied while the planet runs out of oil.

    • profile image

      Iacomus 9 years ago

      Have just posted an article on where I see Peak Oil taking us.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Whether or not peak oil exists as a fact is in a way immaterial. We have set ourselves up as a civilization that is over-dependant on a single energy source. Solar energy, geo-thermal, and wind-power have all yet to be exploited to their fullest potential.If people could only focus on making themselves more self-sufficient and more independant then humanity as a whole will fair better in the years to come.

      My big fear is that governments will continue to meddle, to centralise, to over-see the de-skilling of their voters all in the name of progress. Then when (for whatever reason) the oil prices escalate out of control and food becomes too costly to transport, and medical services are so centralised that no-one can afford to travel to them, then that's when we will begin to suffer world-wide civil insurrection.

      Governments all operate according to their own agenda of course, and not always with an eye on the law of unintended consequences. Which is bad news for humanity I guess.

    • plegrove profile image

      plegrove 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Amanda I think most governments are afraid of peak oil because they can't do anything. In a democracy you have to keep the voters happy or you get voted out and there is very little to be happy about when dealing with peak oil. I think that is why most governments are hiding behind global warming. They can always talk about doing something but never really do anything. But I think that will backfire when El Nino catches up with global warming and then we will see some very serious weather conditions.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Hi Plegrove. Wouldn't that be ironic, if we managed to overcome the issue of Peak Oil, only to vanish under the steadily rising oceans, or suffer dreadful privations because of unrelenting freak weather conditions. Not a pleasing scenario. Personally I like to always take an optimistic viewpoint, and I'm so encouraged by the amount of activity going on to counter the threat of Peak Oil. I think that communication is the key, and with such a powerful tool as the Internet at our fingertips, new technologies should spread quickly and effectively.

    • profile image

      Jens 8 years ago a graph of US oil production since 1920. Peak oil is very real, that graph shows how US oil production peaked in 1971-1972 and has declined since. The US used to be one of the world's main oil producers. Mexican, Norwegian and British oil production is all in decline now. The last oil fields to decline will be in the Middle East and Canada. Chinese coal use is so large that China will deplete its coal within 30 years.

    • profile image

      Stu 7 years ago

      There is no solution to Peak Oil. Yes we should ramp up solar, wind, geothermal, wave, etc etc. But be under no delusions, we will not be able to replace the energy of declining oil with any of these, we will have to cut back on our energy a large margin which will increase over time until we are back to the point where energy consumption will be limited to essential things.....for the average house, that would be.....refrigeration and air big flat screen electric this and electric that. Another alternative would be ever decreasing population. In any case......all alternatives.....including nuclear.....rely on massive amounts of oil for there existence....try building a nuclear power plant without oil inputs.....try extracting silicon and other materials for manufacturing solar panels..or anything else......without oil.....we could not mine anything anymore without oil......gone are the days when picks and shovels and manual labor can mine metals or coal....all the easy stuff is need massive trucks and earth moving equipment and explosives and massive power consuming plants to extract metals from very low grade ores found very deep beneath the surface. Our ability to manufacture "anything" will decline with oils there will be no massive ramp up of alternatives after peak oil. Yes if only people would conserve......but what passes for conserving with people nowdays is actually a wasteful life of royalty. If you use any sort of air conditioning....that is not conserving....if you sit up at night watching tv....that is not matter how efficient your appliances are....they are a waste of energy because it is energy used that produces nothing...its just gone. People will use as much as they can....they will replace every last little bit of human effort no matter how trivial with an energy using appliance.....think electric can openers.....electric knives....electric razors.....electric doors on garages.....electric windows......electric powered push bikes.....a friend of mine recently brought one of these and she thought she was being green.....I does using electricity for something that used none before make it pushbikes have always been around....they have peddles for power.....and nothing else....anything you add that uses power is not being green......its using power where none was used before...its power used to save a lazy slob from using their body for something.....this is everywhere....its the reason humans use so much of everything.....I really see no solution except for total and complete collapse and people not having the means to extract or use any more resources then they can get by hard work.....that is the only sustainable way to live.....nothing else is's all bullshit.....if you are relying on any fixed source of's not sustainable......and that includes the energy sources that go into making solar panels. The problem is that most people don't realise how little a solar panel produces.....I do.....I make them......and beleive me the energy that goes into making solar cells....and the other high tech materials within...and aluminium frames.....tempered glass huge.....why do you think they cost so much. If we had to rely on the output of solar panels to fuel making more solar panels.......forget it...there would be nothing left to use of anything else. All alternatives are actually derivatives of fossil fuels.....when fossil fuels does everything else.

    • plegrove profile image

      plegrove 7 years ago from New Zealand


      Love your comment -- You are very clued up on peak oil and what is going to happen in the not so distant future.

      I just watched that "Colony" programme on Discovery Channel and they did pretty well with their solar panels. Actually I would never have believed what they did, if I hadn't have seen it myself. I have had nothing to do with solar panels so I am not too clued up on what they can do. But you are right about the energy that goes into making them. That is the big problem with the oil less future we will have very little of what we have now.

    • finalremark profile image

      finalremark 7 years ago

      Even if peak oil isn't imminent it will affect us eventually, just like the general concept of "climate change" will eventually occur if people keep up doing what they are.. our only long term hope as a species is to diversify energy sources and to invent more efficient devices (as far as possible). Hopefully people's ability to cut back consumption and invent machines that take less power will increase faster than the demands make by oil scarcity, but I am not sure about that.

      If anything, then at least Peak Oil will reduce the amount of garbage that people can pollute with, but that's hardly comforting if global warming is already underway and inevitable like scientists seem to be suggesting.

      Or maybe people will find ways to pollute anyway until the very end...

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