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Value System: Energy, Economy, Environment and The Future

Reflections on my Studies of the World

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Aaron Wissner
I'm a person who enjoys learning new things and helping others. In the summer of 2002, I first learned about animal issues. In the summer of 2005, I first learned about peak oil. Somewhere in there, I was a passenger in car accident that could easily been fatal for me. These three things each led to paradigm shifts in my patterns of thinking.

Learning about animal issues, specifically the ethics and morality of using animals, has led me to be much more thoughtful and deliberate in my consumption patterns. The primary issue is the treatment of animals raised the purpose of providing food products. The treatment of the vast majority of these animals in inhumane and unethical, yet it is supported by the vast majority of us, and our predilection to purchase products based primarily on the price.

The revelation about peak oil was perhaps more shocking. I had always falsely assumed that the future would be one of space travel, amazing technology, and fantastic medical breakthroughs. Now, understanding that energy, primarily from fossil fuels, is providing humanity with an abundance unlike anything ever before in the past, I am deeply concerned that the coming of peak oil will lead to rapid changes in society and civilization that will lead to difficulties for many. The worst case scenario is that there will be a total collapse of the global food system, which will lead to massive famine and violence. I certainly hope this is not the case, but it is much to important to ignore. No matter what the consequences, peak oil means that social change will occur at a fairly rapid rate as humanity copes with a lower energy future.

Being in a car crash, where I fully expected to die, has led to a feeling of urgency in my life, and also to a desire to make a contribution to society that will be lasting, even if that contribution is not credited to me. I would certainly like life on earth to continue, and in particular, that the level of complexity, and the variety of lifeforms, are able to survive long term. I am concerned that humanity has caused the extinction of so many species , ecosystems, and habitats. I am also concerned that humanity has the potential of stagnating on its quest for civilization. Having a wake up call to my own mortality has given me additional drive to speak up and to begin focusing on those long term goals that humanity has for itself and the planet.

This online journal is designed first and foremost to examine the value system under which industrialized society exists, to determine the impacts of that value system, to develop a value system that meets our goals indefinitely, to develop said value system, and to educate others on this value system and why it is preferable to the current system.

Given that I am interested in peak oil, among other issues, I find that I have written quite a bit about peak oil, and not so much about value systems. It appears that, for the time being at least, I will be focusing my attention on the more immediate or urgent concern of peak oil, as opposed to the more important concern of the long term values system of humanity.

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