Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Is There Rehab For This Oil Overdose?

In Around the web on May 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

From CAROLYN BAKER
Speaking Truth To Power Blog

[...] Before the addict experiences a fatal overdose and ravages everyone and everything around him, there is always the choice to end the addiction and enter treatment. Treatment involves withdrawal from the substance, then taking a long, exhaustive, meticulous look inside oneself to confront the demon of the addiction. Much support is necessary; the addict cannot make the journey alone.

The Transition Handbook frames our dependence on hydrocarbon energy in terms of an addiction. We can blame, rationalize, project, deny-we can employ whatever defense mechanism we choose from humanity’s vast repertoire of them, but like the hard core addict, the human race is committing suicide. It is willing to kill every form of life in the oceans, cause the extinction of every species on earth, pollute every cubic inch of breathable air, poison every drop of water on the planet, and yes, enable an unfathomable cataclysm such as we are witnessing in the Gulf of Mexico at this moment, in order to perpetuate the lifestyle to which it feels entitled. Like all addictions, this one is both irrational and insane.

Every person who has chosen to research Peak Oil, climate change, global economic meltdown, species extinction, and population overshoot is not unlike an addict who has some moment of clarity in which he can actually choose to walk to the nearest rehab facility and fall on his face screaming for help. None of us can do that investigative work without the massive support of other “cheap energy addicts in recovery”. None of us can do it without a spiritual as well as a logistical recovery program which all authentic recovery absolutely requires.

Like the recovering addict there will be moments of terror about what the future holds, and the greater the devastation we have created, such as the largest oil spill in the history of the world, the more daunting the future will feel. Like the recovery of the addict, our recovery will require rigorous honesty and a commitment to finding meaning and purpose, not in the substance, which is killing us and the planet, but in a different kind of lifestyle. This will be a lifestyle of simplicity, cooperation, and deep connection with nature and our fellow humans. It may mean alterations in our behavior that feel like sacrifices until we realize that the joy, meaning, and contentment they bring us are what we wanted all along.

Therefore, as we witness the spread of the most devastating and widespread oil slick in history; as we see the photos of oil saturated wildlife and watch frantic fisherman in despair because they have lost their livelihood; as we watch enablers blaming and scrambling to fix the un-fixable, let us do as they say in Twelve Step programs, and take a searching and fearless moral (and energy) inventory of our lives and notice where we are in our recovery from addiction to cheap and abundant fossil fuels. Richard Heinberg’s book The Party’s Over documents how brief in the history of the human race the party was, how much fun it was, and of course, how lethal it was and is. So while the enablers are blaming and fixing, it behooves all of us to ask of ourselves the toughest question of all: What are we doing to recover?
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Full article here
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