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Lights Out: On the Frontlines of Collapse

I don't have to tell you the world is falling apart because you can see it with your own eyes whenever you read the news or visit a grocery store. Around the planet, citizens are waking up from their hundred-year fossil-fuel consumption bender, and the colossal hangover will last for decades. But, of course, the sycophants in the mainstream media would tell you that everything going wrong right now is because of Trump and Russia. For those who are still new to the discussion, the talking points of the Western governments are lies. Full stop.

For this installment of On the Frontlines of Collapse, I'm going to tackle the energy shortages in Europe and Asia and what that looks like when it comes to America in the too near future. But, first, I need to get some of the technical stuff out of the way so we all understand the problems with the facts. After that, we can move on to explaining why governments are refusing to call the situation what it is and their insistence on maintaining the status quo by any means necessary.

European Energy

To start, let's look at Europe to understand its energy structure and what has happened to cause its current crisis. Natural gas is used for the creation of electricity as well as for heating a space. As of 1 September, Europe's natural gas reserves were at 80.8%, which is not untypical for this time of year, but the biggest problem was the cost involved in filling the funds.

On 3 March 2021, a consumer could expect to pay €51.12 ($50.72) for 744-megawatt hours. On 26 August 2022, that same consumer would have to pay €782.64 ($776.54) for the same amount of electricity. In 17 months, the average European consumer's electricity bill has multiplied by 15. You don't need an economics degree to understand that type of burden is unsustainable.

I've seen countless stories on social media showing people their new energy bill quotes, and the prices are astronomical. The quotes genuinely look like they are, to borrow a phrase from the British, taking the piss.

For example, the Rose and Crown Pub in England have seen their electric bill going from £1,000 ($1,200) to over £6,000 ($7,300) a month. Where is that money going to come from? The pub isn't doing any more business than usual. If anything, their business has decreased because inflation is causing their prices to rise, and they can't retain customers willing to spend the little money they have left after their own bills. The governments of the west are too far entrenched in their Russian Boogeyman narrative to try to lift a finger to help their struggling countrymen.

The Germans in power aren't even sure which end is up right now. Instead of going after the cause of their energy woes, the south Germans (Bavaria) are arguing with the Germans of the north (Lower Saxony). Bavaria wants the north to frack for more shale in their territory, while Lower Saxony wants the south to create more wind farms. As you can tell, the patients are running the asylum. Germany wouldn't understand the right thing to do if we wrote the answers down in a book and smacked them in the face with it. This is the part of the story where the Germans invoke the Russian ghost as the source of all their problems. In reality, Germany is the cause of Germany's collapse.

More than 55% of gas used by Germany is sourced from Russia. Yet, in their infinite wisdom, the German government agreed to sanctions against Russia for their special military operation in Ukraine. It's your typical cutting off your nose to spite your face. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that the motherland of Nazis would help their brethren in the ranks of the Ukrainian military, but why would they sacrifice the health and well-being of their own citizens to help a foreign nation? It strains credulity.

Putin has now shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which is the main artery of gas into Europe, and he will not turn the pipes back on until the west takes their heads out of their asses. He is demanding to be paid in rubles, as is his right. In the minds of the western world leaders, they get to call the shots, and no one gets to tack on stipulations to their plans of world domination.

Russia has more than enough gas for their upcoming winter, and I get the feeling their economy isn't hurting from the intentional shutdown of their pipes into Europe. Of course, you can read countless headlines shouting about how we are sticking it to the Russians for refusing to take their oil, but the joke is on everyone else. The posturing by the United States in February of this year would have led you to believe that Russia would end up a shriveled-up old despot by now, but this isn't the case. Their military operation seems to be going how they wanted it to, regardless of the billions of dollars being pumped into Ukraine by the Washington whores and grifters.

With the pipelines shut down, it doesn't matter if Europe is at 80% capacity for their natural gas or even 100%. The reserves are just that—a reserve. They are intended to be used in a time of increased demand (i.e., a snowstorm) while waiting for a fresh shipment of cheap Russian oil. By taking the Russian crude out of the equation, the whole of Europe is looking at a disastrous and deadly winter. Even if everyday citizens can cobble together enough money to keep their lights AND heat on, there isn't going to be enough to go around.

In the Italian cities of Naples, Terni, Assisi, Bastia, Foligno, Gubbio, Norcia, and Spoleto, protesters are publically burning their energy bills as a way to stick it to the government. While I commend them for taking some action, I don't think it will phase the energy conglomerates. Until everyone stops paying their bills, they will just shut off the power of those who aren't paying, and the fireworks will truly begin. Instead, what I see happening is the pricing out of one of the most significant population segments in society from being able to afford basic electricity and heating. Small businesses are already feeling the squeeze, with many not sure how long they will be able to stay open with the record energy prices and inflation hanging over their heads. I've seen videos of mom-and-pop shops turning off their lights to conserve energy and reduce their bills. The proper way to protest a system is by walking away. Live your life in a parallel system that does not have an energy bill. Chris and I haven't paid for electricity for our home in three years. Our decision to change our lives was not an accident, and the formula for success can be repeated.

In the Czech Republic, the country has seen protests by upwards of 100,000 people airing their grievances against NATO, the E.U., and the Czech government in Prague. The people there are demanding an ending of sanctions on Russia and a halt to all arms shipments meant for Ukraine. In addition, an inflation rate of 18% (among the highest in the E.U.) has made life unaffordable for many Czech citizens, and they are demanding answers from their government. The Prime Minister of the country, Petr Fiala, chalked the protests up to Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns. You really can't make this stuff up.

The U.K., Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic are not alone in their citizens' discontent. Other countries with significant protests because of energy concerns include Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Albania. Norwegian farmers are having to throw away parts of their harvests because they can't afford the electricity to keep them in temperature-controlled environments. Similarly, Sweden's largest tomato supplier, Nordic Greens, was forced to shut down because of energy prices losing 500 tons of tomatoes. These are not isolated incidents—the trend seems to grow by the week.

Asian Energy

Asia seems to be in a suspended freefall. Anyone who had money on China being the next reigning superpower might want to renegotiate the terms of their bet. In compliance with Xi’s “zero-covid” policy, cities across China have locked down 65 million people. Major manufacturing cities, including Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and 30 other cities, have all been locked down in various levels of severity for the past couple of weeks, disrupting lives and causing chaos. As of 5 September, there are 6,227 confirmed cases of COVID in mainland China. To put it into perspective, 6,227 represents 0.0000044% of the Chinese population without a single death reported from COVID since 27 May 2022. Shutting down the cities has nothing to do with COVID and everything to do with energy shortages.

Onlookers standing on the dried-up banks of the Yangtze River

In Chengdu, a city of 20 million people, 80% of their electricity is supplied through hydropower stations along the Yangtze river, which I find incredibly impressive. 20 million is a massive amount of people to produce electricity for, and they mainly do it with water. Well, they were—a drought this summer accompanied by a heat wave decimated the hydropower grid and left the Chinese with no redundancies. Does the government have sympathy for its citizens? No, instead, they turn their social credit score pass to yellow and force entire cities to get nucleic acid tests on the same day in the scorching temperatures. They are barred from entering any public venues if they do not receive a negative test within 24-48 hours.

Indonesia is seeing protests of thousands of people in the capital of Jakarta and other cities, including Surabaya, Makassar, Kendari, Aceh, and Yogyakarta, because of a 30% increase in the subsidized fuel cost announced by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who claimed he had little choice in the rise. The tensions in the country have risen to a boiling point recently as thousands of police were deployed to these cities to guard gas stations.

The highest fuel price hike in Bangladeshi history occurred on 5 August 2022, triggering a nationwide protest against the 42% fuel price increase. The protesters, primarily made up of students, laborers, and the poor of the country, are demanding a decrease in the price of fuel and an increase in their deteriorating living conditions.

Coming to America

In the U.S., record high gas prices and inflation across all sectors of the economy have made the status quo harder and harder to maintain. I'm personally seeing it when I go to the grocery store, and $150 does not buy me nearly the amount of groceries it did just a few years ago. As a result, we've had to make cuts to certain luxury items to ensure we stay within our budget. We are financially stable because we took deliberate steps to free ourselves from as much debt as possible, but this is not the case for the majority of Americans.

Some places in the United States, like California, are already experiencing blackouts and power outages because of a five-year record high energy use amid a late summer heatwave. Much like Europe and Asia, it appears the people in America will overconsume until they've drained the last drop of oil from the earth's shriveled corpse.

There’s speculation on social media that in October, Saudi Aramco plans to increase prices for the United States while decreasing the costs for Europe and Asia. This should not come as a surprise as Biden made a trip to Saudi Arabia in an effort to try to get more oil, but he was turned away empty-handed.

A reckoning is on the way as Americans continue consuming 25% of the world's daily oil supply despite being only 5% of the collective population. No other country in the world consumes as much as the United States when considering population.

U.S. strategic petroleum reserve levels

Another anxiety-inducing diagram shows the United States’ strategic petroleum reserve at its lowest levels since 1984. “Joe Biden” is selling off about 1 million barrels a day to artificially keep the price of oil down for America. Praytell, what do you think will happen when we aren't able to do that anymore? Just look at the preceding paragraphs to give you a glimpse of the society-shattering consequences. Another piece to note is that if the U.S. is forced only to consume oil from the reserves, it has enough to consume at scale for 22 days.

At the end of the day, what we truly have is a consumption problem. It's like someone with diabetes eating a bag of candy as their feet are amputated. Consuming less now will not solve our problems, but it will allow us more time to find a new solution or conform to a new way of life.

Living life more simply is not a far-fetched impossibility. I believe it would be easier than most people assume, but it would not be the same. Modern-day conveniences, including air conditioners, refrigerators, microwaves, private jets, vacations, recreational motorhomes/other vehicles, gigantic mansions, electric heaters/stoves, grocery stores, shopping malls, et cetera, will all find their way into the history books.

The collapse appears to have already begun, so the critical thing now is to do what you can, under ever-increasing limitations, to simplify as much of your life as possible and mentally prepare yourself for a future of less consumption. Learn new skills, plant a garden, develop vital emotional intelligence, and find out what you need to be truly happy in life. Try to be kind to each other in the coming years because we are all we have. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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