Sunday, July 30, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
We’re all aware of what can happen if global warming continues: melting ice caps, rising sea levels, flooded (or submerged) cities around the world (including my own!).
Likewise, if a food source like plankton diminishes because the water is too warm or too cold, the ripples go all the way up the food chain to us.
TV and radio would cease to function. On the upside, we wouldn’t have to listen to the lies of politicians and advertisers. Of course the media could get generators, but there would be few customers able to receive their product. So that would be the end of that industry, too. It might be a relief. Traveling snake oil salesmen are much easier to avoid than ubiquitous ads.
However, without mass media, the public stories we tell each other to maintain social cohesion would be lost and the country would devolve into isolated villages or regions. Maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, socially, but the loss of economic transparency would raise all prices painfully. Inevitably, isolated regions would develop unique cultures and predictable xenophobia. Secessions and wars would follow after only a few generations.
We will go to the market every day because there will be no refrigeration for food beyond ice. That will change the way food is produced, stored, and sold. It will change our diets. We will spend more time raising and preparing food and less time reading, writing, and racing dirt bikes. And when we’re not preparing food, we’ll be heating water and washing clothes by hand. But it would be a good time to get into the ice business.
Would the electrical grid be repaired? Of course. Despite the nostalgic charms of a non-electrified world, most of us enjoy the modern world too much to go back to that. People will pay any price to restore the grid. But hopefully, in doing that, we will think twice about how we generate and use electricity, perhaps making some wiser decisions the next time around.