“You’ve heard of peak oil,” the Globe & Mail asks us this morning. “How about peak gold?” Peak gold, O wise Globe editors? Are you insulting our intelligence by picking such an popular, recognizable substance to create a stir over? Throw a dart at the periodic table, and I can practically promise you that for whichever element you impale, you will be able find a cluster of Hubbertian cranks frantic to raise awareness over its imminent, irreversible, apocalyptic “peaking”. A single Italian study sweeps a whole buffet of minerals off the desk: mercury, lead, gallium, selenium. They missed aluminum, but someone else has it covered. Salon was complaining about peak copper four years ago, and as any fool can tell you, peak copper means peak silver!
How about peak lithium? Surely not… wait, yep, there’s a peak lithium guy. Helium? C’mon, helium makes up a quarter of the goddamn universe! Sorry, peaked. Phosphorus too. You may be under the impression that we’re all swimming around in a sea of nitrogen but turns out that’s peaked. And you may be certain that long-passed, purely local peaks of many resources represent rehearsals for more intractable global limits, and cannot possibly just mean that the Republic of So-and-So found better things to do than mining arsenic. Pretty much everything’s peaking, all at once. Very soon now we’ll all be scurrying like ants across an eight-thousand-mile celestial object that looks suspiciously like an apple core.