June 11th, 2008


It used to be dinosaurs!

Oil. Everyone who has a spare face hole is talking about it. On the most part they're talking about the rising price of fuel and the effect it has on their motoring. Okay, that's fair enough. However, if you take a step back and look at the 'bigger picture' then you might want to consider where else the rising costs of oil might stab at thee.

It's very rare where oil is discussed that people consider its role in the production of power. What's even more disturbing is that the majority of people aren't aware of where or how the energy that they use on a daily basis is produced. Sometimes it infuriates me to the point of distraction when people drone on about how they can't afford to drive to work, the super market or their line dancing classes on a Wednesday night. I can't help but wonder what will happen to these people when it 'clicks' that bigger picture is even grimmer. How will they respond, for example, when they realise that their utility bills will also be affected by the rising costs of oil. Oil is finite. Oil is used heavily in the production of power. The math isn't hard.

If the price of running a car is set to increase then the price of running a home can only follow suit. And, naturally, an increase in the costs of electricity will come at the consumer from many angles. Food, lifestyle, entertainment, schooling... this could be a very long list.

Here in the UK we are set to see the building of at least seven nuclear power stations in the coming years. These have been on the cards for the past ten years and are only just coming to the attention of the general public. Seeing the populous at arms over the proposal of wind turbine farms was nothing compared to their ire over the news of seven such stations. It makes me wonder how they'd react if they knew that in truth it's going to be more like ten. Sure, they can scream and shout their hatred now, but tell them that they can't turn on their lights at night and I think we'd see a very different reaction.

Without wanting to focus too harshly on a desperately grim future, you can already see the effects at play in countries such as Thailand, India and Indonesia. Regular and prolonged black outs have become something to be tolerated on a daily basis. And whilst there have been valiant efforts to generate power using biofuels the results are less than effective; Bill Gates' stock drop being a clear reflection of this.

Regardless, feel free to complain heavily at the rising cost of gasoline. But, remember, if you'd been using public transport all of these years then we might not be in this situation in the first place. And heaven forbid that we bring up the whole walking thing.