A world without oil – how do do we answer for this?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Oil, gas and coal are all coming to an end. The “Energy Watch Group” has come in its actual analysis to the conclusion that fossil fuels are being used up faster than it has been generally hoped.

This is not new, to be very honest. Already since the publication of the report “The Limits to Growth” in the 1970s are we aware of the fact that fossil fuels are finite and that the world's population, which wants to use them, is growing. 40 years on the “Energy Watch Group” has to remind us of this as we seem to have learned nothing.

However, the predictions in the report to the Club of Rome, based on computer modeling at the MIT, themselves are flawed and the predictions that the use of technology would, more or less, save us from the collapse predicted for the middle of the 21st century is not being borne out.

In the realm of public perception the fact that our fossil energy sources such as oil, gas and coal, are finite seems to a non-subject. It is sure that most people are aware that some day there will be no oil anymore but nevertheless that appears to be subject only for science fiction writers and Hollywood directors. A world without oil, as far as the majority is concerned, is not going to happen very soon and the belief is there that there will be technical innovations to solve this problem.

It would appear as if the majority of people are not conscious of the fact that the oil is coming to an end and that rather rapidly, except when they have to fill up their cars and see the every rising prices. However, even then they are still not, in the main, prepared to make any changes to the way they travel and use fossil fuels.

In addition to that the powers-that-be try to lull us all into a false security that they will solve the problem and that more oil is going to be brought on stream via fracking and such like. And then there are some – especially of the Christian right – that claim that they oil will go on forever as G-d has put it there for us to use and there is no end to it in the same way as Jesus turned water into wine, G-d will do similar as regards to oil. Dream on.

Cheap and abundant oil is already almost history and the reserves that are left on the Planet are going to be more and more difficult and thus more and more expensive to extract. And also at a far higher danger to the environment, as we have all seen with the Deep Water Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

Is it really that difficult to find and develop alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels as energy source? Why are those alternatives not promoted in our highly technological countries such as Germany, Britain, the USA and others? Why are future generations are made to hold the baby or why is everyone waiting for the institutions of this world to affect change? Since now 40 years have passed since “The Limits to Growth” was published the presumption can only be made that everyone waits too long for others to become active. The solution can but be: become active yourself. Every single one, step by step. We cannot wait for others, especially not for our governments, institutions, and definitely not for industry. All seem to have vested interests to prevent the alternatives coming to the forefront.

Because of this more and more people get together and do great things. The best example for this is the increase of renewable energy for instance in Germany. In the year 2011 there were 51% of all renewable energy installations in the hands of private individuals, with but 6% in the hands of the energy companies. And in 2012 renewables have covered at least 25% of the entire German electricity demand. There are also reports and studies that actually give a far greater number, and most of this was covered by private small wind and small solar installations.

Citizens, as opposed to politicians, have heeded the reports of the “Club of Rome” and the “Energy Watch Group” and have acted. They have drastically changed the face of the German electricity power provision.

But it is not just in producing electricity by means of solar, wind and other means, that we must act. We must, all, each and every one of us, take a close look as to how we use energy, be that in the home, at work, or in our travel, personal and business.

“When many little people in many little places do many small things they can change the face of the world”, says, paraphrased, an African proverb, and today this is as valid as never before. Each and every one has the possibility and power to change the world – but he or she is also thus obligated, because of the possibility and power, to do it.

People can do a great deal alone when they channel their money, as consumers and as investors. We have to become conscious what value our money presents which we put daily in circulation.

Each and every one, in his or her small way and sphere, can achieve things and combined when everyone does his or her part, this becomes an unstoppable avalanche.

Turn off those lights where they are not used, turn off the appliances that are not in use – also the standby functions. Walk and cycle instead of jumping in the car and driving. Shop local, ideally from local producers. Reuse, repurpose and upcycle as much as possible your “waste” materials, whatever it may be into whatever it could be. I am sure you can see that this could become a more or less endless list. Each and everyone has great power. We only have to use it to change the world for the better.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”, said Mahatma Gandhi and this is as valid then as it is today, if not even more so. We must and can be the change that we want to see in the world. Only we can make those changes. Governments will not do it for us and corporations will do so on no account. Both are but interested in what they can get out of things financially. Politicians, in the main, are in the pockets of the corporations and many governments in fact are corporations.

We need a new system, not a new government.

© 2013