I read a very surprising article in the latest edition of Texas Monthly (the National Magazine of Texas...I know, you non-Texans hate us...we're fine with that). It's about a really smart, Harvard-educated, respected, rich guy named Matthew Simmons who insists that oil demand will be vastly greater than supply, sooner than you think. It's a concept called Peak Oil, and one that others agree is a possibility. When you think about it, oil is a non-renewable resource. Unlike water, it doesn't fall from the sky, and who's to say that once we've found all the oil there is to find that there's no more oil left? Here's an excerpt of the article:
"As fuel shortfalls complicate global delivery routes and leave farmers unable to run their tractors, we will face massive food shortages. Products made with petroleum, from asphalt and plastic to fabrics and computer chips, will also become scarcer and scarcer. Standards of living will fall, and people will not be able to pay their debts. Lending will tighten, and eventually there will be major defaults. Growth will cease, and hoarding will set in as oil becomes increasingly rare. Then, according to Simmons, the wars will begin. That is the peak oil scenario."
It sounds apocalyptic and scary, but I don't think it's too outrageous given our world's addiction to oil. And he's helping people get practical about how to help the problem. In lectures, he asks questions like: “If your family were permitted to purchase only five gallons of gasoline per week, how would this change your lifestyle?” He also has some interesting ideas about how to help people save money: let more people work from home to save money on commuting. He says: “People shuffle into work and get on the Internet. You can have staff meetings by webcam.”
I don't know 'bout you, but it makes me want to ride my bike to work...once the snow melts.