At this time of year, when many of us give and receive gifts for Christmas, it is appropriate to ask: where is the next one coming from?
As long as we have plenty of surplus energy, mainly in the form of crude oil and other fossil fuels, life may be expected to continue much as we are used to, but the decline of energy will see a decline in our standard of living. Where then will the next one come from? Where will the next plastic toy come from? What about the battery to power it? The packaging to attract our eye to it in the store? The paper to wrap it as a gift? The ink to print on the paper? What will we do for sellotape to make a parcel, when the plastics industries close down? Where will string come from?
All these things had their equivalents before the age of oil, but we have lost the ready access to skills and materials needed to bring them back. Where are the string makers? The paper makers? The toy makers? If these skills exist, they are not in the high energy societies like the United States, or England, or Australia. Those skills have been exported to China and India and Africa, in the name of Globalisation.
How much we have lost. How much we will wish we had seen the day approaching and had prepared for it. Our toys and technologies will be of little use, when cheap energy is a memory.
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