The Mad Max franchise began as a revenge story but as the series progressed, deeper and more interesting themes emerged. With the critical success of Mad Max: Fury Road, let’s take a look back at arguably the best installment of the series—Road Warrior.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior picks up a couple years after the original and we are presented with a new version of Max (Mel Gibson). No longer bent on revenge for his family, Max is now a loner traveling the barren landscape of our dystopian future alone. Anything that resembled civilization has crumbled under the weight of an energy crisis and war. The energy crisis has made gasoline a top commodity. So rare and precious is gas that people are willing to do anything for it—even kill.
While the story may seem a bit over the top, it may not be all that far off from our own future. Over thirty years later and the energy crisis that filmmaker George Miller brought to life seems a much closer reality than ever before. Science has shown the damage humans have done and continue to do to our planet. Between the depleting ozone layer, an increased need for recycling and the destruction of the rainforests, Mad Max may be our future.
The one thing that hits closer to home than anything else is the gasoline shortage. The world is highly dependent on fossil fuels to continue functioning. The sad fact is that fossil fuels like oil are not unlimited. There will come a time when we realize we have used up all our resources. Instead of green landscapes and beautiful rolling hills of grass, we will end up with the deserted outback the Mad Max series shows us.
Is there hope for humanity? Hopefully. Even in this enlightened age of science and knowledge though, there are many people who are not totally convinced or simply do not believe that we are in danger. Even with scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and innovators like Elon Musk warning us of the impending dangers of fossil fuel dependence, a large portion of America (and the world) see these warnings as little more than liberal scare tactics, lies, or misinformation.
Back in 1970, U.S. oil production hit its peak at 9.6 thousand barrels per day. After this, there were many years of steady decline in the industry. Instead of finding more ways to utilize the energy all around us, humans decided their best option was to find more aggressive ways to pull that precious fossil fuel from the Earth. Now we are back to pulling over 9 thousand barrels of oil out of our planet every day.
Sure, this sounds like good news, but the truth is this could very likely be our true peak. To avoid falling into the decay we see in the Mad Max films, humans need to begin investing in more efficient renewable energy sources. Some of these alternatives we have today, thanks to a variety of companies offering renewable energy. For example, Duke Energy in the Carolinas provides hydroelectric energy, Ohio Gas Companies offer greener natural gas, and SolarCity in California lets homeowners lease solar panels.
Will this be enough? The answer is probably not. Until everyone realizes the impact our modern lifestyle has on the one and only Earth we have, mankind will continue moving towards the barren landscapes of biker gangs and extreme violence seen in the movies. Mad Max may have seemed like some crazy future thirty years ago, but now it looks more like an ancient prophecy warning us of the impending doom we have caused.
Will we listen?