While climate change is being touted as the end of life as we know it, a simple power outage illustrates the dangers of too many people in a complex, energy-dependent society. A cacophony of support for climate change displaces the true problem, which is too many people living in complex urban situations with deferred maintenance and limited surplus energy when catastrophe hits. While most environmentalists fear what happens when we keep Business as Usual (BAU) moving forward, what happens when we cannot keep BAU moving forward? If the storm had been worse, what would have been the population’s need for water, and what would have happened to nuclear power plants? Possibilities of violence go up–where is the tipping point for that? Revolution, war, and riots are off of our radar, which has narrowed to its smallest focus to protect our psyches from multiple threats looming on the horizon. As blackouts and gas rationing go forward in the northeast, people will begin to see the energy that drives their world in all of its stepped hierarchy. We operate under the false notion that people in cities use little energy. We are so steeped in a hierarchy of surplus energy in our society that we will not understand energy until we begin to suffer its absence.
by Mary Logan