Sunday, June 24, 2007

A tidbit from

Way down at the bottom of an article about the Democrats not being motivated to end the war in Iraq, these paragraphs were posted:


But in the early '70s the United States reached the so called Hubbert's Oil Peak, when domestic petroleum production crested and went into an irreversible decline. It's no mere coincidence that this time also marked the beginning of ever growing trade and current account deficits, which now threaten to overwhelm the economic base of the country.

The implications of Peak Oil are widely misunderstood. The world will never run out oil, whether vegetable or mineral. The Petroleum Age will not end on a fixed date, when the last drop of crude falls from some spigot in the desert sands, any more than the Stone Age ended for lack of stones. What is running out is cheap oil, easily extracted, easily refined oil. At some point prices will simply rise to, and stay at, a level where running all the transport and industry we do with it at the present becomes economically unviable.

That is the spectre that haunts the corridors of power in Washington DC. So many American cities, and not least suburbs, were, if not founded, then at least shaped during the Petroleum Age. It can be difficult for say, an urban European from Paris, Berlin, or London, never having been there, to fully fathom just how shaped, by nature and design, the American landscape is for the automobile.

Drive-to and drive-through are facts of everyday life. Your friends might live within "driving distance", but hardly close enough for the horses of the apostles to carry you, and probably nowhere near any form of public transport. There might be a store within walking distance. But the one carrying the items you need will require driving. Your local ATM mini-bank will in all probability be a drive-through. And trying to walk up to it to withdraw some cash involves the risk of a giant Ford truck screeching around the corner on the same errand and flattening you. In short; a car is not a luxury, or even a convenience - it's a necessity of life.

It is only when you truly consider the staggering investments sunk into the basic infrastructure and very fabric of this society, and the even greater disruptions and costs of changing it, that you can appreciate the reluctance to let go of the Petroleum Age, and understand, on some level at least, the not alltogether nefarious, motives behind trying to lay claim to the biggest source of this resource...


And this has been the crux of the matter all along in America. Europeans and people all over the rest of the world have their infrastructure geared toward mass transit and non-gasoline powered transit.

The vast majority of Americans drive personal cars and have no other options.

I have mentioned this many times, but it bears repeating: You need to take a hard look at where you live, and see if you are within a reasonable walk/bike ride to your job, to groceries, to a hardware store, etc. And if you aren't, you need to move now while you still can.

Because the day is coming when EVERYONE out in the 'burbs will need to do so, and if you aren't there first, you're going to be out of luck. Your McMansion will be worthless - no one will buy it for what you are mortgaged for it - and urban condos and townhouses will be far, far out of your reach due to simple supply (or rather, lack thereof) and demand.

It's close to too late, class, but not quite. Educate yourselves and act.

No comments: