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Obituary: Jay Hanson, early populariser of the converging crises

Ron Patterson writes: Jay Hanson was the founder of multiple energy resources or peak oil lists from the 1990s, starting with the incredibly popular Dieoff website and Dieoff list which looked at peak oil, population numbers, and scarcity. He was probably more responsible for starting the whole Peak Oil Awareness Movement than any other person.

Ron Patterson, Peak Oil Barrel

I have learned, regretfully, of the death of Jay Hanson. My first report was that it occurred in a diving accident. Subsequently, it has been clarified that he fell ill after diving, and died that night. Jay Hanson lived in Hawaii. He was the founder of multiple energy resources or peak oil lists from the 1990s, starting with the incredibly popular Dieoff website and DieOff list which looked at peak oil, population numbers, and scarcity. An intermediate list was Killer Ape-Peak Oil. The last list of which we are aware was [America2Point0] which Hanson closed ‘until further notice’ on 20 December 2016. Hanson was teetotal for many years and studied evolutionary psychology. He believed that humans would be ultimately unable to deal with resource scarcity or human induced climate change because they could not cope with major environmental and evolutionary problems involving themselves.

His list gave rise to a number of other lists, such as EnergyResources and ERT, as people formed different views on the energy resources and human survival outlook.

Jay Hanson’s dieoff page can be found in its old and new forms by clicking on the links: http://www.jayhanson.org/oldindex.htm and http://www.dieoff.org/. There is a 2003 interview by Scott Meredith at http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/hansn_02.htm. It was my own participation in the DieOff list and subsequent ones, especially EnergyResources, and then the Australian Running on Empty one (roeoz) that caused me to edit two editions of a multi-scientist authored book called The Final Energy Crisis, Pluto Press, UK, 2005 and 2008. The first edition was initiated and partly edited by Andrew McKillop, and finished by me, Sheila Newman, and the second edition, in 2008, was entirely edited by me, with mostly new articles.

The whole ‘peak oil’ and energy resources debate or story or study is not over by any means. Fracking is a desperate and ruinous sort of pause, which has been used to crank up demand. It seems that we have already entered the oil wars, however most of the public have little ability to understand this, due to the influence of the corporate press and similar on our education systems, which focus less and less on science and history. US-NATO activity in the Middle East, the East and South America – notable threats towards Venezuela – are signs of this.

Jay Hanson was a charismatic internet figure, and it seems odd today that his death is not being widely reported. He was likable, trenchant and a little despotic, with many avid and admiring acolytes and friends.

This article and obituary is a very quick response to the sad news. My condoleances to his family and close friends, and to the movement he began.

Jay Hanson, my internet friend. He was probably more responsible for starting the whole Peak Oil Awareness Movement than any other person. May he rest in peace.

Thanks to Sheila Newman. Without your reporting, Jay’s death would have gone completely unreported.


Jay Hanson: Reality Report Interview (November 3, 2008)

Reality Report
Jay Hanson hosted the first online discussion bulletin board for overshoot issues like peak oil and climate change. He devoted a large portion of his life to researching the genetic human behaviors that have caused our severe state of overshoot. Ten years ago Jason Bradford hosted a weekly interview format radio program on overshoot issues called the Reality Report. I still consider the Reality Report to be the most intelligent show of its type to this day.  This 10-year-old interview, is to my recollection, the only audio interview done with Jay Hanson.


OVERSHOOT LOOP: Evolution Under The Maximum Power Principle
Jay Hanson, Dieoff.org
Today, when one observes the many severe environmental and social problems, it appears that we are rushing towards extinction and are powerless to stop it. Why can’t we save ourselves? To answer that question we only need to integrate three of the key influences on our behavior: 1) biological evolution, 2) overshoot, and 3) a proposed fourth law of thermodynamics called the “Maximum Power Principle”(MPP). The MPP states that biological systems will organize to increase power[2] generation, by degrading more energy, whenever systemic constraints allow it[3].

America 2.0
Jay Hanson
The “bad news” is that “peak oil” marks the beginning of the end of capitalism and market politics because many decades of declining “net energy” [1] will result in many decades of declining economic activity. And since capitalism can’t run backwards, a new method of distributing goods and services must be found. The “good news” is that our “market system” is fantastically inefficient! Americans could be wasting something like two billion tonnes of oil equivalent per year!! In order to avoid anarchy, rebellion, civil war and global nuclear conflict, Americans must force a fundamental change in our political process. We can keep the same political structures and people, but must totally eliminate special interests from our political environment. A careful review of the progressive assault on laissez faire constitutionalism and neoclassical economics, from the 1880s through the 1930s, explains how this can be done legally and without violence. These early progressives showed how we can save our country. All that is lacking now is the political will. I call this adjustment of our political environment “America 2.0.”

Jay Hanson and Dieoff.org
Nate Hagens
There are many layers of the Peak Oil onion. One man who has peeled away most of them, largely out of the public eye, is Jay Hanson. Jay is the quintessential Peak Oil autodidact. After a successful career in software design, his ongoing quest for knowledge about energy, evolution and the environment culminated in a massive internet reference hub for these topics called DIEOFF.ORG. In 1997 he predicted we would invade and occupy Iraq for their oil. (link). Jay has been intensely studying and researching topics central to energy and evolution nearly full time for 15 years, (4 of which spent solo on a yacht in the Pacific).


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