But, what about resources that can’t be replaced? Like Texas Tea… black gold… oil that is. We can’t make more oil, there is a limited supply, and we’re using increasing amounts of it at a staggering rate because we’ve planned our towns and cities so that we can’t function without it. And guess what the result is so far.
Big, big, BIG money for the people who provide that product. And so what, says your oil-proud aunt. That’s the American way. Rising tides lift all boats, right?
Nope. But I’ll get into that more next time.
See, the oil people have an organization called OPEC and while they don’t exactly collude to set the price, they do, as a group, determine the supply, and guess what that does. It influences the price on the free market. That’s not capitalism. In fact, it’s downright un-American.
But here’s the even crazier thing: the way we live—buying water in petroleum-based plastic bottles (hit that link, it’s seriously important) when we can drink pristine water from the tap, laying thousands of miles of petroleum-based roads so we can spend billions on petroleum-based fuels to get to work so we can pay for more petroleum-based fuel, and so on—just feeds that dependency on oil and exponentially increases the demand, which forces us to give more and more of our money to those corporations who supply the oil until eventually there is no more oil left, or—if you are somehow able to deny that could ever happen—they own us and everything we do because we cannot function without their product.
And that, Aunty Oil, is exploitation. It’s not up for debate as to whether or not it could happen. It’s happening.
There are people out there who will tell you that there is plenty of oil right here in the US of A if we would just drill more. You know, rip up some of those purple mountains majesty so we don’t have to pay so much at the pump. If we did that, they tell us, we could have up to 50 years of oil for our reserves and we wouldn’t be so dependent on places where we’re forced to spend billions of dollars and sacrifice thousands of lives so we can continue to use their oil.
OK, let’s say they’re right. Let’s give them the best-case scenario and we rip up our forests and pollute our oceans to get 50 years worth of oil. 50 years! Hey, holy shit, fantastic!
Snap our fingers and change the entire infrastructure and transportation system so that we don’t need to drive everywhere anymore?
We should have been going down a road to oil independence years and years ago, but right now we just keep building more roads and suburbs. It has got to stop. If you’re not a believer, if you think we can continue to destroy our planet and economy, and in a few years we suddenly won’t need fuel, you are tragically mistaken.
Our cities and towns must be reinvented so that we do not need to use so much fuel. And we have got to stop buying into ridiculous marketing schemes like bottled water just so organizations that are already financially bloated can have even more of our money.
But here’s a questions for your oil-loving aunt:
Is there anything that could convince you that we’ve got a serious problem on our hands or is it just part of your personal philosophy that to question oil is blasphemy?
And here’s one that I’m asking myself:
Would it be scarier if we didn’t know how to solve this problem or that we know how to solve it, but we’re not doing it?