When I was laid off at the beginning of the decline in 2008 I began to hear things and started to further investigate the monetary system, economics, the banking system which lead me down the garden path toward Peak Oil. I lived through the 1970s and the oil shortages where we spent a long time at a gas station for just a few gallons of gasoline or saw signs that they had run out. Peak Oil doesn’t mean the same thing as what happened in the 70s but it means we will eventually see it on a permanent basis as prices only go ever higher heading to the day we run out. A day will come when we will see no more cars, gasoline or the lifestyle we have come so accustomed to with cheap fossil fuel energy.
Just a few years ago I began to question what will happen to the disabled community. I’ve read a lot of books and articles on Peak Oil and no one even touches on this subject. I emailed some people and I am still waiting to hear back. A few seem to just throw their arms in the air with a comment like, I don’t know.
This took me on a long search and mind exercise taking me down some very dark alleyways and hidden places. It seems we would rather forget about the disabled. Many countries have places where the disabled live, hidden away from the rest of society. The idea is that they can be better taken care of by people who have the necessary training. It’s just a way for a society to put the disabled out of sight to not deal with them on a daily basis.
OK, back on track. How will the disabled be cared for and live in a world without cheap energy. I get the distinct feeling they won’t. A time will come where they will not just be out of sight, out of mind, but rather completely forgotten and left behind altogether. The disabled include the blind or low vision, mentally disabled, learning disabled, hearing disabled, physical disabled, and speech or language disabled. There may be others but these are the main ones I came across most often.
The blind and hearing disabled could adapt to a future without an abundance of cheap energy. Adaptation would require learning to grow their own food, fiber and fuel which is not beyond their abilities. If a non-disabled person were to begin teaching blind and hearing disabled they could become independent from fossil fuels like anyone else without a disability. It is the rest of the disabled community that worries me.
People with mental and psychiatric, physical, learning, speech or language disabilities that will have the hardest time and possibly they may never adapt. How will these people care for themselves? Who will care for them? A whole new community will have to develop that not only cares for them but in addition grows food, fuel and fiber providing the basics. What about people who take medications? After supplies run out they will just have to go without since medications are made from fossil fuels. Going beyond the disabled community to mention an example we have people who rely on medications to not reject organ transplants. What will happen when they run out? Die after their organs are rejected or will they just live with pain for the rest of their lives?
Because we have made ourselves so absolutely and completely reliant on petroleum we have put ourselves into a trap. Even if the wealthy create stock piles for themselves it won’t matter. They have expiration dates. Sure it can be safe to take them afterwards but a time will come when medication will no longer be any good. Then what?
I honestly don’t have an answer here. I wrote this article to make people aware there are a lot of people who will be forgotten as we run out of cheap energy. They may even be pushed aside altogether. The only way I can see some of the people with a disability surviving is in a caring community that is willing to give of themselves to care for people who can not care for themselves. I’m not looking for any comments, I just want people to think about the forgotten.