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Is loss of oil really so crippling?

photo by flickr user jim thorton

There has been much speculation lately over the “oil crisis” our world is facing.  A recent article published in The Independent stated that the world’s oil is quickly running out, leading to a “catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery.” According to most scientists, authors and politicians, if the world’s oil runs out, life as we know it will be drastically changed. I do not dispute that life will be drastically changed for most, yet I do disagree with the notion that a massive loss of oil for production will ruin our lives and “cripple our economy.”

Because almost all people in the developed world are entirely dependent on oil in order to live, its loss seems abominable. Oil creates energy, which is needed for both simple and large tasks, like powering our houses and commuting by car. However, I feel that the oil shortage we are currently facing is actually a good thing. The world is far too dependent on oil; it’s not just a need, it’s an addiction. In order for someone to get over an addiction to a substance, they must either wean themselves off of it or shut off their consumption entirely. I believe that this is what must happen in order to ease our people off of their need for oil as well as save our slowly decaying planet. Losing our oil is not a bad thing, and we have to stop seeing it as a terrible fate that will destroy us.

People in the developing world don’t even have access to oil, and in America we have had to face major oil shortages before. In the movie FUEL, narrator and director Joshua Tickell makes it obvious that loss of oil would help us, not destroy our lives. He talks about the oil crisis during Jimmy Carter’s presidency and explains how the US was faced with a major oil shortage and dealt with it in a mostly sophisticated manner. In the end, no one was devastated over the oil loss. Citizens soon began to adapt to the regulations that were enforced during the crisis; people got gas on certain days depending on whether the last digit of their license plate was odd or even, and America began to “go green.” Carter ordered that solar panels be installed on the roof of the White House, and people went back to living a normal life, with the oil demand sufficiently decreased. However, this all changed when Ronald Reagan was elected. He ordered the solar panels to be removed, and he told everyone to go out and buy more oil and bigger cars.

It upsets me that most people cannot part with oil and find its decreasing supply a calamity that will be the death of us all. I believe this is not the case, because there are many alternative ways to create fuel. Just by farming algae in fifteen percent of the Mojave Desert, we would be able to power America forever! In France, the main source of energy is now nuclear power. People are beginning to become more aware, ditching oil on the way. No more oil! Everything, our cars, our homes, would be run on algae. Megaflora trees that mature in just three years would provide biomass and energy, and the impending oil crisis would be a crisis no longer.

I feel strongly that the world has to stop its addiction to oil. We have to view oil shortages not as a terrible fate but as a challenge that we must take on. With that mentality, we can view oil loss as good and no longer as a grave destination for our planet. Because, in reality, the use of oil is destroying our world, and who wants to live in a world like that?