Oil in the Arctic!

We are like a child picking up sea shells on the exposed shoreline preceding a tsunami. Our eyes gloss over and the glint of the pretty thing shines in our eyes, and heedless of the gathering mountain of water we rush to gather as much as we can, ignoring the consequences of missing the bigger picture.

There is oil in the arctic, and it seems half the world is interested in getting it out of the earth (and into the atmosphere) as soon as possible. No one seems to care that the whole reason this oil is going to be accessible is because of global warming – caused in part by the very same fuel. For decades now we’ve been irresponsibly burning everything we can dig up, ignoring the scientists who have been warning us (for just as long) that this is going to have dire consequences.

Meanwhile, our amazing sun beats down its free energy all around us, in the form of direct solar and in the indirect form of biofuels. The wind continues to blow (mostly unharnessed), energy efficiency measures are minor and insubstantial, and geothermal and wave energy potential continues to be ignored by the energy companies.

In 1915, Nikola Tesla said “If we use fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful, and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations.”

We are now addicted to fossil fuels, and like any addict with any addiction it will eventually kill us, unless we break the habit. The needed alternatives exist, but as long as we focus primarily on how to find more fossil fuels, the incentives to develop renewable energy resources will continue to be delayed. If we want any hope of continuing something resembling our current civilization we must abandon fossil fuels as soon as possible and replace them with renewables.

If not, the changing climate will give us a world in which our civilization cannot exist.