Peak Oil News

Friday, March 05, 2004

Oil is evil!? How to change that erroneous view?

What if we had a forest of great commercial value and wood products companies were cutting it down as fast as they could? What if that forest were just about half gone and the cutting rate was accellerating? What if that forest could NEVER regrow, ever?

The world's petroleum reserves are that irreplacable forest. They are literally ancient forests and other biomass and we are permitting oil companies to "clearcut" them.

Petroleum is a resource of nature. It is natural. It is a very valuable gift from the earth. What is it going to take to wake up and notice what is going to happen as this valuable substance disappears from easy access and easy usability?

I have been walking and talking about peak oil to everyone I can, for an hour or two a day, for a couple weeks now. It is exhausting! While talking to people, I have noticed a very interesting thing and having trouble sorting it out.

Many people I talk to are the same people who devote themselves to good causes like protecting forests, reducing pollution, sustainable living, etc. Some of these people have the mind set that running out of oil is a GOOD thing! They see oil as evil, as the source of many global problems, as its abuse indeed it is. They say they will be happy to see the end of cheap petroleum.

When I stop someone to chat, I have to be very quick to get their positive attention. Seconds count. What I am often having trouble with is a quick way to plant the idea that oil itself is not bad, but what we have done with it (waste, pollution, etc) is bad AND that oil is also another natural resource, like water, forests, etc. that needs to be radically conserved.

I have thought about making an analogy that oil is rather like the living forests; a very valuable resource that needs to be valued and used conservatively. And that oil, unlike forests, is not going to grow back if left alone for awhile, therefore should be conserved even more radically than the forests.

We are dismayed and angry when a wood products company clearcuts the forest. We shrug when an oil company "clearcuts" an oil field by draining as quickly as profitability allows.

Your thoughts are invited and welcome. Click the comments link below.


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