Oil: The End Is Nigh - Thank Goodness
All good things must come to an end, and even those things which were never that great to begin with will finish eventually. And this looks like its the beginning of the end for oil as a source of power in our world. The amazing thing is the shock people in North America are feeling as the price of pumping fuel into their steel boxes on wheels rises on a weekly if not daily basis. We have lived so long in our artificial cocoon of cheap gas that having to face the reality of paying the true value of fuel is hard to bear(I remember travelling in Germany in 1980 and seeing the price at the pump being @ 75 cents a litre)
But what is truly scary is the fact that our governments seem to be trying to placate these fears with promises of more bounty buried throughout the earth. Instead of speaking the unfaltering truth that we are nearing the end of the usefulness of petroleum as fuel, and that as the inevitable happens prices will continue to spiral upward, they are full steam ahead in the exploitation of more and more environmental delicate oil exploration projects. The Alaska wildlife refuge, and offshore drilling off both coasts of Canada are just three projects that will risk more then they can ever deliver on. The costs involved in the development will continue to out weigh the increase in availability so prices will never come down again( When have you ever known a price increase to be significantly rolled back)
Through greed and short-sightedness our society has become oil dependent(George Bush calls the Alaska Wildlife Refuge exploitation "protecting America's oil requirements" when it should be called "protecting my family and friends wallets") Transportation, heating our homes, the manufacturing base, plastics, and who knows what else are all dependent on a ready supply of oil. We are about to have to go through a period of radical change over the next few decades, with no plan for a future without oil.
I would like to offer a simple solution that will not only reduce our dependence on oil, but would have the added benefit of allowing every nation on the face of the earth to meet its Kyoto accord gas emission reduction goals, and then some. Ban private ownership of fuel based cars, except in the case of business. Metropolitan Centres already have public transport infrastructure in place, and the auto manufacturers can be retailed to produce more mass transit vehicles. Outlying communities can have publicly owned fleets of cars that are available for us on a needs only basis; business commuters on short hops can access these same types of vehicles, and so as to prevent wastage businesses can schedule people's travel to coincide with others so as to enable car pooling.
Think of the other side benefits: a reduction in noise pollution with less cars on the road, less auto related deaths(both human and wildlife), people will actually be brought into contact with each other instead of being isolated in their own private boxes, and we can rid ourselves of a lot of the ugly concrete that desecrates our landscapes by scrapping a lot of now useless supper highways. Imagine being able to hear the sounds of nature, not traffic. Smelling fresh air not carbon dioxide and seeing the sky not a brown smudge in late August.
I know it sounds ridiculous to most of you, and you can't even picture what it would be like to no own a car, but in the long run it may well be the only hope we have for salvaging something of this world.