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Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


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Monday, November 29, 2004

A Change is Gonna Come

Really one of my favorite songs of all times, and definitely my favorite when I was a kid --- that and '16 Tons' by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Which is what happens when Saturday fare is limited to Soul Train and Hee Haw. And Championship Wrestling.

In any case, I've had my dinner (a sweet potato and pork green curry in coconut milk) (and yes, it was good, so stop your snarking) ... and now, it's time to talk about Peak Oil. And Waste and Consumerism.

Because, in the words of Sam Cooke ...

It's been a long, been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.

I think about these kinds of things all the time. And, although I'm skeptical about the apocalyptic visions of the Peak Oil folks, I do think that oil and natural gas prices will continue to rise, that there are limited reserves of both and that we would all benefit by seeking ways to conserve and protect ourselves. And I also worry that our failure to convert on an individual level to alternative forms of energy and to more fuel efficient cars and appliances could very well drive us into a depression. And I also believe it is possible that only the very wealthy would survive that kind of a depression very well.

I mean, it's apparent the government isn't the least interested in making solar or other kinds of alternative energy sources viable and affordable on a mass scale.

Now, the story at Morgan Stanley is about wastefulness, but not our wastefulness in terms of energy --- instead Roach speaks in almost incredulous tones about our failure to save and our seeming insatiable appetite for spending money.

But aren't our extraordinary consumption of fossil fuels and our insatiable appetite for consumer goods exactly the same thing?

I think they are.

And I also think we're foolish if we believe that somehow, some way, our government is going to figure this out in any way which might be beneficial to you or I.

So it's up to us, as individuals, to figure out way through this. Look at it this way: even relatively conservative estimates are (and sorry, I don't have immediate access to a URL) that we can expect to see gas prices of $4-5 in a few years, with a precipitous rise beginning some time around the end of 2005. The same trend will occur with natural gas, so people who heat with gas and drive a lot will be exceptionally vulnerable. Especially as it's doubtful wages will be rising any time soon.

And how many people do you know who drive a lot and heat their homes with natural gas?

What puzzles me, however, is a seeming determination to avoid discussion of our options as individuals and instead spin tales of what the government COULD do.

I mean, come on, folks. Do you really think the government is going to figure its way out of this? Especially a government owned by the oil and gas industry?

So, just like I brainstorm with myself about what to do about the economy --- how to cut my costs, how to maybe even make a little money (oh PLEASE let those interest rates go up!) --- I worry about how best to heat and cook --- should I start bit by bit getting solar panels on this place? --- what is my best option in a fuel efficient car? --- those kinds of things ...

And I think that's what we all need to be doing. Because I'm not sure I believe in the apocalyptic visions. But I do think we better be prepared for a precipitous change as a consequence of our wastefulness and dependence on fossil fuels.

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