(A/N: Yeah, this is a rant, so it's not the most coherent, and I refuse to go back and rearrange things to make more sense, just 'cuz. So bear with it, enjoy or don't, but please review.)
Well, we're sunk. Just to start off. We're fucking sunk. The solution to the problem ahead of us requires a massive all out effort on the part of every segment of humanity the likes of which we have never seen, and that's never happened and isn't likely to happen any time soon.
The problem you see is...
Well, it's a lot of things.
For one, the stockpiles mother earth has available are running empty. We can see the wooden wainscoting behind the empty shelves and it scares us, deep down in our crooked little hearts. But not enough, apparently, to do anything about it.
Oil peaked in the early sixties and since then everything else has been following suit.
Iron, copper, tin, magnesium, aluminum, uranium, and so on, and so forth. All of the resources we rely on to pump our water, deliver our food, fight our wars, talk to our loved ones, go from place to place at hundreds of miles an hour, and pretty much everything else, are going bye-bye. Within a hundred years, you will have to tear out some else's throat to get a lump of phosphorus, never mind internet access (that's right chillins, no more fictionpress, no more fanfiction, no more twisted Spock/Kirk slash, no nothing!).
Let me go back to water really quick, because it's just as important. You may not know it, and may not believe it, but we are running out of fresh, useable water. The supplies we do have, the great aquifers, lakes, and freshwaters streams are being sucked dry at a rate much faster than the clouds can fill them. Vast regions of the globe sink lower by fractions of an inch every year as we take all the blue gold out of them.
That is an accurate term.
Pretty soon your average bottle of Dasani light ultra filtered mountain spring bullshit is going to cost hundreds of dollars, and the big boys on the playground know this. The hot new commodity is WATER! WATER! WATER! Everyone's investing in it, or at least, everyone with a desalination plant and a hard-on for screwing people out of their money (which, lets face it, is pretty much all of them). And guess what they're going to do the moment the only drinkable water is coming out of their taps? They're going to charge you up the ass for it, third world country style, no holds barred monopoly. They'll form conglomerates, trade agreements, force embargoes on competing sources, and pretty soon a posh dining room full of fat cats is going to own the life blood of the earth. Fuck oil, water is where the big bucks are at baby! The deals and counter deals are already getting warmed up. Horrible things have been happening quietly, absent major media coverage in the lush jungles of South America, where the Guarani Aquifer, the biggest freshwater reservoir in the world is being fought over, tooth and nail. Even the Bush family has a stake of some thousands of acres there. Some big company recently sent pipes into the Great Lakes, much to the chagrin of the locals. I could spend all day talking about this particular subject, but we have a lot of ground to cover so lets move on.
Do not kid yourselves any longer, this big bad motherfucker is doing naughty things up near the poles, and you are going to hear about it, soon. As in, decades soon, without a shadow of a doubt within your young lifetime. Sea levels rising by insane amounts, cities around the globe flooded, inland's parched by record heat, agriculture drying up, and the whole world slowly cracking into dusty slabs and blowing away in the wind.
That's the thing about humans, we build close to water. Pretty much every major city in the world is next to a large body of water, which will rise when the ice perched on tippie toes on top of Greenland melts out to sea. Millions dead. Hundreds of millions homeless, and a rapidly shrinking agricultural base to feed all those hungry mouths. You know all those angry riots they show when they talk about that kinda stuff? Understatement to the Nth degree. There will be massacres the likes of which will make other genocides pale in comparison to. Hitler's Reich will seem like a white trash tantrum compared to the sheer tonnage of dead people stacking up globally. The fact is, there won't be enough food to go around, and not nearly enough transportation to ship it everywhere efficiently. Fights will break out over the bread baskets of the world. The US, the Ukraine, Egypt, China, and all the other countries that have fertile soil will be targets for the starving nations of the world.
China's food output is set to decline 37 percent while it's population grows to one and a half billion people. This is due to, guess what, the water crisis! Unsustainable groundwater mining practices have dried them out of all of their rice. This effect is not local, no sir, it's going to make an appearance here, there, and everywhere, further stringing our food resources out.
This is called a population crash, and crash is an apt word to describe it. It's where the hubris of human expansion gets T-Boned by the Carrying Capacity.
Think back, if you can still remember, to Frosh Biology, when you were taught about the carrying capacity and populations. Didn't your textbook always refer to that concept as a warm fuzzy pillow, gave you the impression that when a species hit carrying capacity, it would just kinda even out, all nice and peachy keen? Well, intentional or not, that impression is crap. Population crashes are bad business all around.
First off, war. Probably nuclear. Superpowers will be that desperate.
Second off, death period. The fact is people will have to die, in the multi-billion range to stabilize the crash. Imagine the black death, now multiply that by about six times.
Third, every time there is a sudden decline in population, there is a decline in technology use. After the black death there was plenty to eat, but not a lot to do. Populations of people, essentially medieval cavemen roamed the vast aqueducts of Rome, slept on the floors of mighty cathedrals, and worked next to universities that once promised a new view of the world. It was eerie, almost like an alien civilization that just disappeared one day and left their shambling descendants behind, utterly unable to use or comprehend any of it. They knew their great, great grandfathers had built it, but they couldn't fathom why or how. Imagine that effect in the internet age. We would lose everything. Every record. Every census. Every court document. Every birth certificate. Every time-of-death waver.
Centuries of conjecture, logic, reason, toil, sweat, blood, tears, research, lobbying, legislation, war, and struggle all vaporized in the space of a few generations.
We stand now, on the brink. We have no out, our space program is centuries away from delivering us to the stars.
In the coming century, a tempo of violence and chaos, building to a crescendo sometime in 2050 will tear us asunder.
And yet, we do as we have always done. We watch Malcolm in the Middle while curled up on the couch with a family-size pack of cheese-its. We try to stay informed about the petty rumblings of local politics, but then forget it all the following Monday. We go to church and apologize to invisible bearded sky men for being human, and then beg them on bended knee to screw over that bitch from accounting, Cathy, and her ugly-ass dog that insists on taking a shit on your lawn every morning like clockwork.
We are just not geared for the absolute anal rape that fate is conspiring to dish out.
So have fun, get a degree in whatever catches your fancy, smoke a lot of weed, and don't answer any collection calls.
Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.