Recently though, the very real prospect of the world's oil supply mostly drying up within our lifetimes has begun to hit me hard. Some scattered readings on the subject:
Collapse by Jared Diamond, describing past civilizations that crumbled, and why it happened. I managed to read about half this book before giving up because it was so depressing. Diamond paints a very vivid picture of what it's probably like to be one of the people living at the end of a civilization, and it's not pretty.
If you don't plan to read Collapse, this post by Adam Cadre is a very good but morbid high level summary of it. Adam (whom I know mostly as an author of very excellent short interactive fiction) is taking this end of the world stuff seriously. He writes:
Reading Collapse along with some rather dire predictions for 2006 put me in a weird mental space as I went down to the Whole Foods to stock my refrigerator. I felt like I'd beamed in Twelve Monkeys-style from a dystopian future and was appalled at the decadent excess I saw before me. I watched people poking through a tastefully presented basket of satsuma oranges and wondered, how will you look back on this evening a few years from now when, like the Anasazi, you are scrabbling in the dirt for mice to pop the heads off of and eat whole?
There is a board on The Motley Fool called Peak Oil Party (membership required) dedicated to this subject. I've started lurking there to learn more about it.
Through this board, I read this half creepy, half hopeful series of editorials called, simply, "Things to Come". Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. The author is of the opinion that a sharp reduction in oil availability is beginning within the next few years. He tries to soften the blow and speculate how we will continue to get by in a post oil world.
My dad is a fusion research physicist, so naturally I'm biased towards the eventual development of safe nuclear energy as a way of somehow saving us before things get really bad. My dad is of the opinion that science research is pretty much crippled by politics in this country, but he's cautiously hopeful that other countries will beat us to finishing the research.
I brought this up with Ginny, so now she's paranoid about it too. She thinks we should be making emergency plans for when it happens.