Is our planet about to run out of gas, oil, and coal? Can we continue using them as power sources at the same rate we have been? If not, when will we run out? What will happen to the way of life we’re all used to? And finally, should Christians care?
These are some of the questions Neil Hollow and Andy Mullen examine in their 2012 release, No Oil in the Lamp: Fuel, Faith, and the Energy Crisis. I’m not a scientist as these men are, so some of the details are over my head, but they make a good case for Peak Oil (the belief that the availability and production of natural resources has already peaked and is on the downhill side) in the first three chapters. If anyone doubts the sources they quote, 2-3 pages of footnotes follow most chapters, so there’s plenty of resource for deeper study.
The big question is: Can we replace oil with something else, or will we have to learn how to do without things we’re now used to? If there is “something else” what is it, and can we get to it fast enough?
The book is broken up into several sections that examine how we got here and where we go next. A number of chapters look at the pros and cons of various alternative power sources. From there the authors dig into other aspects that a shortage of oil affects, such as the production of many goods in the world (all plastics, and other goods) and the growing and transport of food.
What happens if governments and citizens continue to ignore the problem or disbelieve it exists? The authors clearly show a set of scenarios from optimistic to apocalyptic for future possibilities. This isn’t limited to Christians who are looking for “doomsday prophecies” to come true. In fact, the authors state, “the end of the world as we know it may not be the end of the world.”
This book is aimed at Christians. Of course the problem is much wider spread, but it isn’t bigger than God. Does the solution depend on what Christians do in response? Not necessarily, but there are both specific challenges to our faith and also significant opportunities. It is better to look ahead and be prepared than to be blindsided.
This is not a doomsday book. It’s a systematic evaluation of a worldwide, serious problem and the possible solutions to it. It challenges Christians and their churches to lead the way in their communities in seeking local solutions such as the ones outlined in the closing chapters.
My take: As a reader of my blog, you know that I’m both concerned about environmental issues and an advocate for local food. My tendency is to focus on the small things that I do have (some measure of) control over, feeling as though the big things are way out of my control. Which they are. But reading this book has given me a useful overview and a more positive outlook of the issues facing this planet.
Published in the United Kingdom, No Oil in the Lamp is not currently available through amazon.com. However, you can pick up a copy at the above link and get free shipping from the UK, which is an awesome deal. I urge you to read this book and educate yourself on the options–while there are choices to be made.
This is a big topic, and I look forward to spending 2-3 more blog posts here. One of the authors, Neil Hollow, and I will be presenting a video interview on Friday, if we can get technology to cooperate. I think you’ll be interested in hearing a (brief!) discussion of some of the points in the book. After a number of emails exchanged with Mr. Hollow, I know I’m looking forward to the chat.
What’s your take on Peak Oil? Do you think the planet is doomed, or “just” our current way of life?
(My video interview with Andy Mellen is here.