Life After Carbon

I’m pretending, as a fumbling fiction writer, that there will be a life after carbon. It is a thought and a hope I’d like to hold up as a possibility, though I hold serious doubts, because I do not think it possible any carbon will be left in the ground if we can get it out–up to the point where it takes a barrel of oil to produce a barrel of oil.

One might think that this run on “unconventional reserves” of carbon in shale and tar sands that we’re sadly witnessing now represents that last possible source of carbon-derived energy. It might appear that when that is tapped out, we’ll have no alternative but alternatives for energy.  Not so fast, bucko. Big Energy never says die.

In the research to understand my “turning point” that will involve the Arctic sea and ice melts AND methane-based cause and effect, I’m finding all sorts of great information, including the following just this morning. (And joy! I can give away my book bits because my three readers are not likely to steal my story because I know where they live.)  Sample link:

Now Siberian craters could provide energy of future from the Siberia Times.

â–º There is more energy in methane hydrates than in all the world’s oil, coal and gas put together
â–º Russia, Japan, Norway and others tend to mine “fire ice” and get rich. In the process, they also commit us–should there be an us–to even more CO2 and atmospheric warming well past the point of no return.
â–º Remember those astounding craters that appeared suddenly on the Yamal Peninsula within the past year? More such are likely (I’m imagining for chapter 7 a whole chain of them within a matter of days), and it can’t be ruled out that they might happen under an oil refinery or Siberian town. Yes, Siberia is a happening place now, and not just for gulag fans.
â–º The same physics, chemistry and earth phenomena that gave rise to the Yamal Craters is being hypothesized to explain the disappearance of ships and planes over the so-called “Bermuda Triangle.”

So fact is getting way weirder than fiction, so why not ride the fiction of it all to make an interesting read–with a conclusion of life “post-carbon” that will likely never make it to the history books?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. A Siberian news article, Now that’s research, Fred! Sounds awful, as usual. Let’s hope they ahve lots of technical difficulties.