Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Course of Empire

I've been doing a lot of reading and watching lately about "Peak Oil" - the point at which the demand for oil exceeds the supply. Basically the world's oil supply is a bell-curve and at some point every oil well hits its maximum output. From there on it will produce less and less. The US oil supply peaked in the 1970s, which is why so much of our oil is imported now (and will increase to be so). Some scientists believe the world oil supply has already peaked, others believe it will happen in the next one or two decades.

I watched, "A Crude Awakening" recently, and I'm looking forward to my next netflix dvd called "The End of Suburbia", which more directly relates oil shortage or running out of oil with the collapse or decline of suburbia - an environment organized entirely around the automobile.

In a recent Kunstlercast, author James Howard Kunstler references a painting series by Thomas Cole called "The Course of Empire" in which the rise and fall of a empire is depicted through five paintings. Although our future world without oil may not be this bleak, it will be a much different future.

Thomas Cole's series "The Course of Empire" from 1834-36
The Savage State
Pastoral State
The Consummation of Empire
The Destruction of Empire

Images from WikiCommons

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