Mike Ruppert believes the end is near. It’s too late for hybrids, too late for electric vehicles, and too late for alternative energy. We’re simply going to have to learn to live without. Ruppert, a former LA cop and investigative journalist, is the focus of Collapse, a new documentary from director Chris Smith—whose previous works include American Movie and The Yes Men.
Smith’s portrait is one of a deeply concerned and troubled man whose personal misfortunes parallel the downfall he sees civilization hurtling towards. But Ruppert’s semi-apocalyptic vision for humanity is built on a simple premise that actually isn’t all that controversial: modernity is powered by oil, and one day this non-renewable resource is going to run out.
A Matter of When
As far as conspiracy theories go, “peak oil” isn’t outlandish. In fact, the US Department of Energy was concerned enough about it to commission the so-called “Hirsch Report” [pdf] in 2005. The report concluded that peak of oil production is coming—perhaps within the decade—and that governments will have to act fast to adopt serious measures to mitigate a range of terrifying consequences that might come with it.
What separates the chain-smoking Mike Ruppert, and a growing movement of peak oil alarmists from others, is that they believe a catastrophic sequence of events is either inevitable or has already begun. Collapse makes no judgments about Ruppert’s prophecies, but it also makes no effort to disguise his edginess. (At one point in the film, Ruppert has an emotional breakdown on camera.)
Ruppert deserves credit for his previous work in exposing CIA drug-smuggling operations. More recently, he’s been associated with the 9/11 truth movement. But whether or not one connects the dots on peak oil the way Ruppert does, there is an undeniable volatility in oil prices and nearly everyone—for one reason or another—agrees that we need to cut our dependence on petroleum.
Two weeks ago, a new warning came from a whistleblower within the International Energy Agency. The whistleblower said the agency’s estimates had been inflated due to “fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further.” The IEA’s annual report is widely considered to be the most important publicly available energy forecast in the world. Serious doubts about its credibility could threaten the stability of oil markets on their own.
In the past year-and-a-half, the world has seen $35-a-barrel oil and $140-a-barrel oil. You may not be stockpiling seeds or learning to cultivate arable land, as Ruppert suggests, but like many, you’ve probably wondered how you would get to work or heat your home if crude were to surpass $200 per barrel.
Collapse, a breathtaking wake-up call, is a must-see for hybrid and electric cars fans motivated to reduce—and ultimately eliminate—our dangerous addiction to oil. See the movie and make your own judgments about Ruppert, the man, and peak oil as a theory. Check the Collapse website for the schedule of limiting screenings around the country in the coming weeks.