Monday, May 24, 2010

Just Say No to Oil

I could jump on the bandwagon and blame BP, the president, or congress for the recent disaster in the Gulf, but I won’t. I think we need to look at ourselves instead. As long as we keep using oil, someone will drill for it and accidents will happen. If we stop using oil there would be no need for off-shore drilling.

I do understand that we’re not going to stop using oil overnight. Paul Roberts, author of the book “The End of Oil” claims that the U.S. is decades away from shedding its reliance on oil. I disagree. Cutting back would be a good start, and that’s something we can begin to do today. We can start by avoiding unnecessary driving. Motor-bikes, scooters, or even bicycles are practical alternatives to cars for some, while others can use mass-transit. When it’s time to replace the vehicle (that you absolutely can’t live without), consider an efficient one, perhaps a hybrid. Plug-in-electric vehicles will soon be available, so plan accordingly. These are only a few things we can all do. With a little effort, we could reduce oil consumption by 50% in one year. Imagine how we would all benefit from that!

If you’re reading this, you are probably someone who is concerned about the envoronment. That’s great, but we need to bring others on-board. We need to lead by example. Leading by example is far more effective than ranting and raving like an environmentalist kook. The car you drive speaks volumes about your intentions. And while few will notice your energy-efficient lighting or appliances, solar panels on your roof would be hard to ignore. Start small if you must, at least replacing some of the fossil fuel you would otherwise use in your home with electricity from solar panels. Others will follow your lead eventually, and we’ll all benefit.

Sadly, many people still think that conservation, and implementing renewable energy solutions, will somehow result in a lower quality of life. This is simply not true, and we need to spread the word. When done right, quality of life can be enhanced. CFL or LED lighting provide the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs, while reducing electricity use significantly. Imagine that; you’ll be doing something positive for the environment, and enhancing your quality of life via lower electric bills.

And speaking of enhancing your quality of life; a plug-in-hybrid car can be recharged at night, when electric rates are low. You might be able to replace the four dollars a day you are currently spending for gasoline with less than one dollar for electricity. For more about this, click here:

Everything we currently do that involves oil can be done another way, and often in a much better way. The transition to renewable energy will open up new career opportunities. Technically savvy folks will find interesting work in energy production, construction, service, and transportation. Those who are the quickest to accept post-oil technologies will be the most successful.

We can’t just stop using oil overnight, but the idea of waiting decades is a concept that we shouldn’t accept. When the oil spill in the gulf becomes old news, we must remain committed to cutting back. Each time we purchase a vehicle, an appliance, or even a light bulb, we should shop with energy-efficiency as our top priority.

If you need another reason to implement and promote alternative energy, perhaps the best one is that not a single soldier will need to give his life to keep renewable energy flowing.

Please, just say no to oil.