Gas prices are breaking through the roof. The price of a barrel of crude oil has doubled within a year. The resulting charge for gas is spreading through the market, from the cost of food to how people are choosing to travel. Yes, everyone’s wallet is being picked by the gas-guzzling fiend our society has propped up over the years. And to this, all I have to say is: good.
Gas prices are breaking through the roof. The price of a barrel of crude oil has doubled within a year. The resulting charge for gas is spreading through the market, from the cost of food to how people are choosing to travel.
Yes, everyone’s wallet is being picked by the gas-guzzling fiend our society has propped up over the years. And to this, all I have to say is: good.
Not good because the lives of lower-income-earning folks have become even harder, or that our food is becoming more expensive. And not good because of the truckers whose livelihoods are suffering. Good, though, because our society is (unfortunately) reactive, not proactive, and the recent events in the oil realm may just push us to change the way in which we operate as a society, and for the better.
In generations past, from the revolution to World War II, Americans have had to sacrifice. Today, though, in perhaps our great generational challenge for survival, oil is our challenge, it is our sacrifice. We can either take it on and triumph, or whimper and whine because we can’t spoil ourselves with SUVs or that oh-so-trendy set of wheels.
In spite of what special-interest spokesmen have attempted to thwart, the debate over global warming is pretty much over. It’s happening, it’s here, and yes, we humans had a hand in it. Pulling your car off the road isn’t going to solve the issue, yet it helps. It also causes a change in habits that could set up future generations to behave more responsibly and accountably than we have.
If you think about it, oil-related technology is perhaps the longest-running technology around. Most technology grows and advances. Yet, oil-based engines and related devices have been around for more than 100 years. For example, computers, electronics–hell, even pens–have changed and evolved at amazing paces. Yet, our car engines have generally run on the same principle they did in the Model T.
Why? The simple answer would cite oil’s obvious profitability. Even in recent times, CEOs of oil companies are raking in the greatest profits in history, despite the strain on the common consumer.
It could also be said that it’s just an easy technology. Perhaps the hard times that the mounting oil issue will bring will force us, as a society, to advance.
This advancement could bring back to Americans the jobs that have recently been lost to overseas markets. From alternative fuels to alternative forms of energy, those are jobs Americans can take up and will be difficult to ship away. We have the means to change. Solar, wind and nuclear power (yes, nuclear power) aren’t anything new, and have the capacity to carry a significant portion of our energy needs.
As part of a reactionary society, people are already starting to respond to the issue at hand. Travel this summer is predicted to decrease from recent years.
Mass-transit use is up in cities across the country. New York and Boston have 5 percent more riders so far this year. In Denver, Co., use is up by 8 percent. Here in Portland, Ore., TriMet has received 12 percent more riders this last May. People are feeling the strain and figuring out a better way of living and traveling.
I am not saying that all of us should just suck it up. Many people don’t have that luxury. Unfortunately, we have set up our society to run on gas, and people have to get to work somehow. And there won’t be any simple and quick solution to this gas issue.
Really, though, no pain, no gain. We need solutions as we face these challenges–these generational challenges–many of which are already here. This painful and distressing gasoline predicament may just be the trigger that sets us up to better fight global warming, to gain new, secure job fields, to advance technologically and to carry us into a better future.