I’m going to pick door number three.
There is a wonderful book written by Howard and Elisabeth Odum (kinfolk to the father of modern ecology, Eugene Odum) called A Prosperous Way Down. But it’s just not a conversation many of us modern first-worlders will deign to have. We just seem to not want to talk about it, unless there’s some angle we’re pushing, hence the Green marketing explosion. Yet it hides a real, multi-tentacled phenomenom, which itself – if we really were smart capitalists on top our game – is shrouding a mountain of astounding opportunities.
As it is, we are ruled not by passion but by caution. Too much Greenspan, not nearly enough Rilke. Ugh. I can’t believe I just wrote that; I can’t believe it took this long. We are afraid to be scared and so just look the other way. Where are the real bastards of the renewables industry (There Will Be Wind!), anyway? We are going to have to be turned on the spits of our ugly sides, like so often is the case. All of this dissonance might not come to jarring end, but there will have to be some reconciling of this absurd idea of growth based on whatever we want vs. the actual laws of the universe. Sadi Carnot, people.
Also looming, and possible source of massive profiteering if you B-school droolers would spend some time in intro-to-engineering classes, is the correlation between the rising global thermometer and said running-on-empty scenario. For an excellent rundown of what we’re looking at as far as how much oil is left and what the real worry is, viewing this would be a good start.