The "they" of whom I speak here are the overwhelming majority of persons in "developed" nations, and Americans in particular. The subject of the optimism and/or complacency are the impending colossal transformations the world is presently undergoing: climate change, peak oil (including other non-renewable and drastically disappearing resources such as natural gas), environmental devastation, and political upheaval in "benefactor" nations (for which, whether the replacements are somewhat democratic models or simply a new batch of puppet despots, the beneficiary nations will not likely be in as favorable position for acquiring their precious resources). For the U.S. in particular, having passed it's own peak oil phase four decades ago and lacking the appropriate infrastructure to transition to an oil-scarce world, the situation seems especially dire. The U.S. lacks both adequate mass transit systems and the structure for transporting goods via alternate (non-oil based) means, such as an extensive (and functioning and maintained) rail system. The majority of the populace live in ghastly unviable suburbs, both removed by great distances from their workplaces and from where their foods and goods are grown and manufactured. To my understanding, most of the "alternative" fuels and energy sources which are supposed to come along and save us all from actually having to compromise the (obscenely wasteful and destructive) "American lifestyle"--which, according to Dick Cheney, is "non-negotiable"--are gonna kinda fall a bit short, to put it mildly. And the cargo cults were seldom "rewarded" for their efforts. Hydrogen fuel cells and whatnots: yeah, whatever. Biodiesel, ethanol, and the like seem not so promising--especially on a massive scale. Wind, solar, and hydro: great, but rather limited, costly, and requiring a good bit of maintainence and a good bit of oil just to get going. Nuclear energy might have been helpful for a few decades at least, had we commenced building ten thousand additional power plants thirty years ago--and then there's that nagging little problem of the waste. What else is there? Frankly, this notion of preserving the "non-negotiable" lifestyle seems a pipe dream at best, and mindnumbingly stupid and selfish at worst. Personally, I'm not terribly concerned for myself at least--I don't have a car, I've very few luxuries (this laptop is the most "sophisticated" thing I own), I rather enjoy living without electricity, and I can and have (and still do, to an extent) live(d) off of others' "waste" and "refuse"--but I'm wondering what sort of plans others have got (if any), particularly all the suburbanites with the SUVs, the flat screen tvs, the McMansions, the swimming pools, and whatnots. What are "they" gonna do? Are "they" even thinking about any of this shit? Perhaps I'm being somewhat alarmist, but I really don't think so. So what's with all this optimism, complacency, seeming obliviousness?