The age of oil actually began back in 1856 and it marked a time for mankind where they could find and use what they thought was going to be a cheap energy source. It was the discovery and the use of oil that propelled us into the Industrial Age and expanded our global population at a very alarming rate. In 1805 we have just barely over a billion people world wide but by 2005 6.5 billion. We can't knock the use of oil for without we'd pretty much be living the same as we did in the 1850's. We can however knock ourselves for conning ourselves into believe that it was going to last forever and using it like it was something that was inexhaustible.
As it stands now, we have probably reached what is called the Peak Oil and this means plain and simple that we are coming to the end of the age of cheap fossil fuels and as we all should know by now that it means huge changes for everyone and huge changes in which we are going to have to live. It's going to be far more enormous of a change than just getting rid of your SUV and picking a Prius instead. We all need to understand that jumping in and trying to use solar and wind power to cover the losses isn't going to even replace one fraction of all the energy requirements we have now all because of our super over dependency upon fossil fuels. The evidence is overwhelming that we are nearly tapped out of fossil fuels and yet the world has yet to respond in the right way about it.
There are usually just two reactions to this overwhelming news and one would simply be denial and the other a sense of hopelessness and why try reaction. Most people will go with denial and think someone is bound to come up with a solution that's going to magically make all our fuel problems go away. Then on the other hand those who think there's no hope so why even try.
We can though respond in a third way. This way is to fully recognize the fact that we can use this Peak Oil to finally start taking an actual proactive role in how we shape our lives as well as our communities as our world starts to enter into what will be a power descent, instead of being passive victims of it all. With this kind of a reaction we as a people of this world will need to create a positive vision for the future and begin acting in ways we can implement that kind of reaction. We need to find ways to move off the grid so to speak and learn about renewable energies, how to become self sufficient, learn to build communities with ecological designs, learn permaculture and other ways in which we all are living sustainable lifestyles while the world begins to power down. You can't wait for the power down or you'll be left out in the cold.