Fossil Fuel and Other Things

It was just a little over 100 years ago when the automobile was invented. One only need look at today’s traffic reports to see what has happened. We’ve built a civilization where the automobile holds us captive. Most of us need the car to get to work, or we think we do.

Picture the size of your gas tank, if you can. Then take all the gas tanks in the world, fit them together and try to imagine how big that tank would be. Don’t even think about the oil tanks that many people use to heat their houses. It’s going to take enough of a feat of the imagination just to visualize the size of all the gas tanks in the world put together. Imagine yourself walking through that tank. How far would you have to travel to get from one side of the tank to the other?

Just think—we fill that tank with gasoline, derived from oil, at least once a week, some of us more than that. Now think of the hole in the ground that would be the same size as the tank you’re walking through. Understand me—this hole is doubling in size, at a minimum, every week.

Now consider that we use oil to make plastic, we use oil to ship food to our major population centers, we use oil to run our giant farms that mono-crop, we use oil to grow the feed that the cows and pigs and chickens we eat need to survive, we use oil to build the asphalt roads we drive on, we use oil to get the energy to manufacture almost everything we use, we use massive amounts of oil to wage war.

Do you see where we are all going here? How big is that hole in the ground now? This all started only a little over 100 years ago.

Oil is the weak link that holds our civilization together. Consider this: Is it possible that we have come close to using half the oil that exists in this world in a little over 100 years, and the use of oil increases constantly as our population explodes to over 6,000,000,000 people from a mere 2,000,000,000 just a little over two hundred years ago?

Oil has made this possible, and, as we drain the Earth of its fossil fuel, we are going to watch the intricate threads that hold our civilization together unravel.

Now, maybe I’ve made a miscalculation. Maybe this isn’t happening as I’ve described it. But when I turn on my TV and watch the traffic reports and the war reports and all the little events that make up the Big Event, it hints that something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mrs. Jones?

I haven’t even factored in global warming or given you the picture of all the exhaust pipes in the world fastened together to make one giant pipe. Our collective noses are in that pipe.

Ethanol is nice, but it’s only possible in a cheap oil economy because it’s derived from mono-cropping oil. So we’re back to the drawing board. Or maybe scratching pictures on the walls of caves after civilization implodes.

Here I am focusing on just one fossil fuel when our future president has selected various leaders who favor coal and don’t believe in global turbulence, which many people call global warming. I don’t even want to say our president-elect’s name, but he has red hair, and red is generally the color that’s used to warn of danger. The guy is frightening.

Folks, I’ve dwelled in the darkness since I started this column, and I have to lighten things up a bit. It’s the holiday season, and I should be full of good cheer. I think I have a problem with that.

So, good reader, I hope you have an enjoyable holiday season, and if the temperature drops to single digits, cover your face so you don’t get frostbite.

For the holiday, do something nice for someone just for the heck of it. Tip your vendor who’ll be standing out there in the cold so you can read this in your warm home. But don’t forget—if we don’t do something about the way we live and the leaders we choose, rational decisions will not be made, and the world will go on without us.

I need to meditate. Really. Try not to let reality get you down this holiday season.







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