A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
| How the sausage is made|
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash is a documentary film about the socioeconomic impact of peak oil.
What it is about
This film starts with a brief introduction of what oil (petroleum) is made of, how it is formed, and what it is used for. We basically use oil for almost everything these days. Everything from plastics, tires, toothpaste, toothbrushes and computers are made of oil. To give you an example of how energy-intensive our life-styles are, the construction of an average desktop computer consumes roughly 10 times its own weight in fossil fuels.
Then it goes into detail about how the USA used to be the number one producer of oil in the world from the mid-to-late 19th century all the way up to the 1960s. And then in 1970-1971, the USA peaked in oil production at around 10 million barrels per day. Afterwards, the USA's oil production started to gradually decline. As such, the USA became an oil importing nation, even though it was an oil exporting nation before.
Do the alternatives to oil work?
Unfortunately, none of the current alternatives to oil will be able to fully replace oil due to their limitations. For example, biofuels, like ethanol, will not be able to replace oil because they require too much arable land. Growing plants for biofuels will compete with growing plants for food. Hydrogen is also most certainly never going to replace oil because of the limitations of hydrogen as an energy source. Nuclear energy is based on yet another non-renewable resource, which we are also quickly running out of. Solar and wind energy will not be able to replace oil due to their limitations and lack of scalability.
Socioeconomic implications of peak oil
It is predicted by Matt Savinar, an expert at peak oil, that driving internal combustion powered vehicles (such as cars, trucks and buses), planes, and other forms of transportation dependent on oil will become a thing of the past in another couple of decades as oil becomes too scarce and expensive. Colin Campbell, a geologist and peak oil expert, predicts that peak oil will cause the stock market to crash, and trigger a great depression that's as bad as, if not worse than, the Great Depression.
Even worse, several experts of peak oil say that the human population multiplied by 5 to 6 times since oil began to be used in the mid-19th century to today. And this explosion in the human population around the world has been largely attributed to oil. The consequences of peak oil are rather dire, because if you take the oil away, the population will have to go back to what it was before we started using oil in the mid-19th century. So according to some experts, such as Roscoe Bartlett, the world human population in a post oil world (where oil and other fossil fuels are no longer present) might only be a scanty 1.5 to 2 billion people rather than the current over 7 billion people.
Almost everything in our modern, highly advanced civilization is dependent on oil. The world, in 2014, consumes about 90 million barrels of oil every single day (it used to be only 80 million barrels of oil every single day back when this film was produced in 2005-06). Without oil, the modern way of life people in developed and (to a lesser extent) developing countries are used to is likely not possible. While it may be possible that a viable alternative to oil may be found one day and civilization will be saved, it is also also possible that civilization as we know it may come to an end due to peak oil, at the worst. At the best, we have to accept a greatly reduced standard of material living after we pass peak oil. Nonetheless, humanity will survive even when all of the extractable oil is gone.