Term Paper: Party's Over by Richard Heinberg

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¶ … Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies" by Richard Heinberg. Specifically it will contain a detailed book report on the book, including the usefulness of reading this book in changing my current energy practices. Author Richard Heinberg is a professor at a California college and an author of several other books. He explores the world's dependence on fossil fuels in this book, and comes to the conclusion that the "Party's Over" when it comes to society's long-term dependence on non-renewable forms of energy. Sooner or later, we will run out, and when we do, it will alter society forever.

The author maintains that oil shortages and depleted supplies could lead to the "end of industrial civilization" as we know it, and that running out of fossil fuels in inevitable (Heinberg 2). The author's points made valid sense for a number of reasons. First, Americans use an enormous amount of non-renewable fuels every day. Second, as the author notes, our energy production has actually gone down in the past decade, and reaches 1950 production levels, which is difficult to believe. The peak, of nearly 10 million barrels produced a day, has dropped to about 6 million in 2000, and the same decline is true throughout most of the world's oil producing nations (Heinberg 89-110). It is no wonder the author is worried about catastrophic change. Energy use has skyrocketed in America, while production is in a decline. That is an accident just waiting to happen.

On an extremely personal level, rising oil prices and shortages will affect the way I live. I am a student on a budget, and so, I live on a small amount of income that does not fluctuate too much. Rising oil prices mean I have to cut my budget somewhere else, and there are few places I can really cut it. The prices mean I pay more at the pump, and I cannot curtail my driving because I have to go to school, and then commute to my part-time job. I could try to find an apartment closer to campus, and a job on campus, and then walk to work and school, but campus jobs do not tend to pay as highly as other jobs, and so, I would still have the same income problems. I think that rising prices affect everyone, but some people can adsorb the prices better than others, and those people will not be as concerned, or as motivated to do something about the problem.

Realistically, the energy shortage could change every aspect of American society. Throughout the book the author notes how every aspect of life is dependent on natural resources in one way or another, from the homes we live in to the food we eat and the vehicles we drive. Just about everything we own is constructed out of natural resources, and use natural resources to convey them to our homes and workplaces. We are an energy-guzzling society, and if we do not stop now, we may not be able to stop in time to set things right.

Probably the most important idea I found in this book is the idea that all life depends on some form of energy, and when we mess with one form, we will certainly affect another form. The author notes, "Energy is the basic currency of ecosystems, passing from green plants to herbivores to carnivores, with decomposers participating along the way" (Heinberg 15). When the author puts it like this, it makes the entire reliance on all forms of energy more understandable and concrete. This is important because it helps illustrate our own dependence on energy, and what could happen to our society if we run out of energy (total collapse). That brought the idea home to me and made it much more sobering, as well.

Responding to this oil crisis will certainly be difficult. Already, with gas prices steadily approaching $4 per gallon, people are complaining about prices even as they refuse to change their driving habits or buy more fuel-efficient cars. Individuals can do things like drive less, buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, install fluorescent light fixtures in their homes, and use alternative forms of power, like solar or wind. Governments need to give incentives to builders and homebuyers who… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Party's Over by Richard Heinberg.  (2007, May 4).  Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/party-richard-heinberg/427130

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/party-richard-heinberg/427130.