[Paleopsych] HBES: Evolutionary psychology and "peak oil:" A Malthus inspired "heads up" for humanity.

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Evolutionary psychology and "peak oil:" A Malthus inspired "heads up" for 
Human Behavior and Evolution Society

Evolutionary biologists are aware of the concept of ecological "carrying 
capacity," and Malthus' application of these ideas to human populations. 
Malthus wrote:

"It is an obvious truth, which has been taken notice of by many writers, that 
population must always be kept down to the level of the means of subsistence; 
but no writer that the Author recollects has inquired particularly into the 
means by which this level is effected..."
   -- Thomas Malthus, 1798

An Essay on the Principle of Population

And more recently, Dawkins echoed Malthus' concerns:

"If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will
automatically lead to an increase in the population
until the natural  state of starvation and misery is restored."
   -- Richard Dawkins

This is exemplified in a well known paper by David Klein,
"The Introduction, Increase and Crash of Reindeer
on St. Matthew Island"  (see: http://dieoff.org/page80.htm )

Humans on Easter Island suffered a similar fate when the
population/consumption overshot the island carrying capacity
(see Jared Diamond's recent book, "[5]Collapse,"
as well as  "[6]Overshoot" by William Catton).

Of course, the entire earth can also be viewed as an "island" with
some resources that are finite and that are being rapidly
depleted by a human population explosion.One of the most
critical finite resources are fossil fuels, which provide a cheap
source of energy to power technological/industrial civilization.

"Peak oil" is the point when 1/2 of extractable world oil has been

A similar concept is "oil demand/production cross-over" -- when the
growing demand for oil crosses above the production capacity, causing
oil prices to increase.

We are close to, or at, these inflection points now.What most people do not 
realize is that there is no energy-equivalent substitute for oil, in terms of 
its energy density, transportability, safety, range, and cost.  Oil is to 
modern industrial/technological civilization what trees were to the Easter 

When critical resources are decreasing, game theorists call this situation a 
"negative sum game."  Such "shrinking overall pie" situations can often lead to 
conflict over critical resources, unless social structures are developed to 
help to enable cooperation.

Evolutionary psychology researchers may help us to better understand the 
genesis of the problem, and what potential solutions might be developed to help 
to facilitate a "soft landing" for our species as oil supplies dwindle and oil 
based products become progressively more scarce and expensive.

   -- [7]Dr. Michael E. Mills  (HBES website editor)

For more information about Peak Oil:

>From Powerswitch.org.uk

(Brief overview)

Peak Oil and the Fate of Humanity, by Borbert Beriault. PowerPoint
book -- excellent.

Online Videos:

Congressman Bartlett's Peak Oil Presentation to the US Congress (March 14, 
2005): http://www.energybulletin.net/5080.html

Also see his interview on E&E TV:

Kenneth Deffeyes, author of "Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak," 
explains his theories and looks at oil alternatives.

Lecture by physics professor David Goodstein, author of "Out of Gas: The End of 
the Age of Oil." Lecture given at Caltech on 10/13/2004: 
http://today.caltech.edu/theater/list?subset=science (search in list for 

Lecture by chemistry professor Nathan Lewis: "Powering the Planet: Where in the 
World Will Our Energy Come From?" Lecture given at Caltech on 5/25/2005.

(search in list for lecture)

Lecture by Robert Kaufmann "Oil and the American Way of Life: Don't Ask, Don't 
Tell" Fermilab Colloquium Lectures, June 1, 2005.


Interview with 'Twilight in the Desert' author Matt Simmons. Are the Saudis 
running out of oil, and are their reserve estimates accurate? What other 
sources might help fill the gap? (Originally aired: 06/15/2005)

Chevron Oil -- television (and print) advertisements warning about peak oil:
http://www.eande.tv/main/?date=072705Also see their
"Issues in Brief:"

The myths, and pros and cons, of [20]hydrogen fuel cells  (PBS - Nova)


[21]Peak Oil: Imposed by Nature (2005)  -- DVD.

[22]The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the
American Dream (2004) -- DVD

Online articles:

   [23]What Can Replace Cheap Oil -- and When?  Richard A. Kerr and
   Robert F. Service, Science,
   Vol 309, Issue 5731, 101, 1 July 2005.

   [24]Brief summary of Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts,
   Mitigation, & Risk Management
   (study led by led by Dr. Robert Hirsch and sponsored by the U.S.
   Department of Energy)

   Wall Street Journal article (8/3/05):  [25]Drilling for Broke?
   Experts Debate 'Peak Oil'
   [26]Experts: Petroleum May Be Nearing a Peak.  Associated Press /
   Forbes, 5/28/05

List of online articles:


www.willyoujoinus.com/  - Chevron Oil website on peak oil.

A few relevant books:


[35]The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and 
Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century, by James Howard 
Kunstler (2005).  Also see a review of this book in [36]American Scientist.

Others (in order of publication date):

[37]An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus (1798)

[38]Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
by William Catton (1982)

[39]Beyond Malthus: Nineteen Dimensions of the Population Challenge
by Lester R. Brown, Gary Gardner, Brian Halweil (1999)
[40]Hubbert's Peak : The Impending World Oil Shortage,
by Kenneth S. Deffeyes (2003)
[41]Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, by David Goodstein (2004)

[42]Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared
Diamond (2004)

[43]Powerdown : Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World by Richard Heinberg 
(2004) and [44]The Party's Over: Oil, War and the
of Industrial Societies by Richard Heinberg (2003).

[45]Beyond Oil : The View from Hubbert's Peak
by Kenneth S. Deffeyes (2005)

[46]Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World
by Matthew R. Simmons (2005)

[47]Over a Barrel: A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage
by Tom Mast (2005)


5. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0670033375/humanbehaviorand
6. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0252009886/humanbehaviorand
   21. http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/PeakOilImposed.html
   22. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0009231TG/humanbehaviorand
   24. http://www.resourceinvestor.com/pebble.asp?relid=11748
   26. http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/ap/2005/05/28/ap2063077.html
   35. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0871138883/humanbehaviorand
   37. http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/malthus/malthus.0.html
   38. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0252009886/humanbehaviorand
   39. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0393319067/humanbehaviorand
   40. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0691116253/humanbehaviorand
   41. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393058573/humanbehaviorand
   42. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0670033375/humanbehaviorand
   43. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0865715106/humanbehaviorand
   44. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0865714827/humanbehaviorand
   45. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0809029561/humanbehaviorand
   46. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/047173876X/humanbehaviorand
   47. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0976444003/humanbehaviorand

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