Parking lot near Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles, California (2017)
The extent to which our lives, our standards of living and our own existences are intertwined with the oil industry and the exploitation of hydrocarbons is far deeper than most of us can imagine. Oil pervades our lives in intricate ways. Oil and gas have become one with a large majority of humans. Oil represents such an integral part of our existences that its importance goes unnoticed.
We are no longer Men of Maize, like the Mayas used to say. We have become Men of Oil.
Yet, many of us feed the illusion that our current existence can be quickly untangled from oil. Many of us have even fallen into the temptation to think that the oil industry itself is the source of all of our troubles while ignoring that our population has expanded largely thanks to the oil and gas industry. And this population explosion occurred on our own accord. Not only our numbers have increased, also the quality of our lives have improved dramatically. The mere existence of your parents, you and your descendants was made possible only because large amounts of energy and materials have been unleashed through the exploitation of this natural resource. Progress in multiple fields, including Transportation, Food production, the Medical field, Alternative Energy, Electronics and Technology was and it is still vastly sustained by oil. The mere fact that you are walking on this earth and are able to voice an opinion started with the extraction of hydrocarbons from the depths of Mother Earth.
Instead of demonizing oil and attacking the oil industry, a more constructive approach is in order. An approach that starts by recognizing (and thanking) oil for all what it has done for us and then move on. An approach that involves a deep change in our behaviors of energy consumption and our needs of transportation. An approach by which the parents of the world would set limits when it comes to making babies. An approach that rationalizes and reduces our consumption of material goods. An approach where local markets and locally manufactured products are incentivized. An approach where the spartan and the frugal life are cherished and the lavish life has no room. An approach where education, science and the arts are highly valued. An approach where the concept of family is expanded to include non-blood related people. An approach where the word “downsizing” is nothing to be scared about. Sounds like Utopia? Well, it is either that or face dystopia.
It is time to scale down human civilization. If we don’t do it in spontaneity, nature and the environment will make those adjustments. Or, worse still, some crazy guy in power will do it. By recognizing where we are coming from and how we got here, it will become clearer where we need to go *