Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Vlissingen, 1669

Vlissingen [source]

We like Dutch paintings from the 17th century, the so-called Golden Century, when Holland was the world’s dominant trading power. Not just for its artistic quality, but also for its realism. What you are looking at is basically a photograph that is 350 years old. Why bring it up on a resource blog like this? Encouragement. Sort of. What you see is a world that could have some resemblance with the world of 2100. What you see is Vlissingen (Flushing in English, like Flushing Meadows in the once Dutch town of Nieuw Amsterdam/New York), a town in the Dutch province of Zeeland (‘Zealand’) in 1669. In the background you can vaguely discern the churchtower from Middelburg. Peak-oil and resource depletion in general is a drama and a desaster on global scale. Unless some deus ex machina appears at the horizon (fusion? thorium reactors? spectacular price break-through for solar cells?), expect world population to decline dramatically during the entire 21st century. Nevertheless, the painting by Petrus Segaers shows a functioning world without fossil fuels. Well, almost. The houses all have a hearth, heating the place deficiently according to modern standards, stoked with wood blocks or peat, likely transported to Vlissingen by boat. The city is surrounded by walls, not to attract non-existing 17th century tourists, but to protect the town against assorted inconveniences, from a Dutch 17th century perspective, such as pirates, Spanish, French and English. The main energy resource however is wind, which is available in Holland in abundance, used to power the windmills as well as the sailingboats. The point of this post is to show that there will be a life after peak-oil and that we do not believe in return-to-stone-age scenario’s. Nevertheless we have to admit that we are not too optimistic about the road downwards towards a new, muchlower, sustaineble resource platform for human civilization. One could argue that the post-1945 globalist era was a luxury vacation from history but that history, as in conflict and suffering, is about to return, in spades.


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