This document has been written using a “common-sense” approach to ensure that it is easily understood by any reader. In two respects, namely that of timescales and that of interim sea levels, it is known to be pessimistic. This is partly intentional, to emphasise the severity of the situation that confronts us, and partly due to inaccuracies of representation.
In the respect of final sea levels when all ice has been melted, however, no pessimism is incurred, for this is based on estimates from other sources. It really will be like this unless we succeed in preventing it!
If we are unable to find a solution to our energy requirements, our global civilisation will collapse completely, and our continued survival as a species on this planet will be extremely difficult. We will have less to work with than than in Medieval times, for resources have either been used up already, or we will be prevented from accessing them.
Without energy, intensive mechanised farming techniques will not be possible, and there will be no chemical fertilisers. In addition to which, the fertile lowland soils will not be available, and water for irrigation will be scarce.
Preparation for the transition can be made by cultivating new, higher, areas now, using organic farming techniques. Although initial yields with poorer soils will be low, yields will increase with careful management. If no preparation is made at all, food production will collapse.
The “shrinking world” we have experienced courtesy of abundant and cheap energy will reverse, as population groups become isolated.
The World Trade Organisation, Gross Domestic Product, Intellectual Property Rights and Privatisation will inevitably assume new values – zero!
Our personal values will change. Instead of asking “Which brand?” or “What price?”, we will be asking “Can I eat/drink it?”, or “Do I need it?” The new watchwords will be “Self-sufficiency” and “Cooperation”, and if you insist on having a slogan, “Small is beautiful”.
If we are successful in making the transition to solar energy, wind power, biogas, etc., and in reducing our energy requirements, life will still be very hard, but perhaps a little less severe. It would enable us to retain communications, for example, provided preparations for the transition are made in advance. It would enable us to continue small-scale, localised manufacturing of essential products, eg. tools, medicines.
With little or no access to raw materials, however, our wasteful lifestyle will no longer be possible. Everything will have to be reused, refurbished, reprocessed, or recycled in order to conserve resources.
Our best chance of survival now is to make the transition our goal, and prepare for it. Money and resources used for expansion and growth now will prove to be money and resources wasted – literally thrown into the ocean. It would be far better to invest in solar power generation and desert reclamation – any land above the new sea level will be hard stressed to support the population.
And remember, future weather patterns cannot be predicted at this stage. We are already seeing increases in storm ferocity, (Australia, US), and frequency – “At the end of March 2006, an estimated 286 tornadoes had hit the US, against an average of 70 for the same three-month period over the past three years”.
We have brought this change upon ourselves. Now we must live with the consequences, or die, as the case may be.
There is still a small chance. Don’t waste it!