Seeking to Empower Humanity with the Perspective to Manifest Evolutionary Change Everywhere

In the last few decades, it has become increasingly clear that humanity is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The problems that stand in the way are not of economical or technological nature. The deepest sources of the global crisis lie inside the human personality and reflect the level of consciousness evolution of our species.

- Dr. Stanislav Grof

Monday, June 21, 2010

Global Oil Addiction (i.e. Wake Up!)

Transparency is a harsh mistress.

As promised - proof a relapsing Oil Addict. Yes, during the Low Oil Challenge, a friend of mine traveled to Boston to be part of a baby shower for a married couple with whom we are close friends. I thought that the fact that I was wearing a Live Green shirt would drive home the shear surrealness of the event.

Oil hits Fort Walton Beach FL, Azure Resort - CNN iReport

(Embedded video removed at reader request)

Accountability is even harsher.

Do we call this hypocrisy? Madness? Grandstanding? All of the above?

Possibly. More than anything else, I call it evidence of how dysfunctional things are.

Case in point - the cost of this car trip to Boston per person? Factoring in gas and sunk costs (prorated car payments and insurance), $76.65 each. If we had taken the train and rented a zipcar to get down to the baby shower - the socioeconomic impact (or cost as they say) to us would have been $170.90 each.

That's right - we live in such a skewed world that it costs more to be responsible.

And what about CO2 emissions? To push two bodies from DC to Boston; Boston to the Cape and back; and back to DC...

In a Automobile only: 564 lbs of CO2*
In a Train to Boston and back, and a car to the Cape and back: 440 lbs of CO2*

Considering that CO2 is trading for about $6.35 per metric ton (or 2200 lbs), there's hardly any significant price impetus for me to have chosen taking the train vs. driving.

My point? Until we stop hiding the total cost of unsustainable energy systems, how can we really expect people to choose differently? And when the actual negative ecological and social impacts are so far-reaching, so complex and so devestating that its difficult for us to put a monetary value to them - then we need to do more than just change price signals.

We need to shut the system down outright.

*Do your own math on carbon emissions here:


  1. Bah, I commented on Google Reader, NA!

  2. The real issue is the complete and utter lack of any form of (affordable) high speed rail connecting the major metropolitan areas of North America. Driving across the East Coast should be prohibitively expensive and time inefficient. However you value car depreciation or carbon emissions, we know our society is failing unless rail is the optimal choice

  3. "That's right - we live in such a skewed world that it costs more to be responsible."


    How many times have you heard people say this? It's not just Greens; it's the guy trying to run construction company, it's a woman trying to run a farm, it's small business owners, big business owners, and everyone in between.

    The brutal, ugly, honest truth is that the rules are there to to be followed only by the people who believe that you follow the rules and the people who are afraid of being punished. The rest of the people don't give a rat's ass and they win.

  4. One more thing, please don't embed video in your posts without auto-play set to off. That's just uncool.

  5. To Pace: I completely agree on the lack of high speed rail. Its dragging us down economically and ecologically. Rail is simply the most efficient way to push atoms around, and the lack of investment, and the oversubidization of inefficent alternatives (planes and cars) is killing us.

    Frank: Oh yes! And the fact that we hear this all across the board is a strong signal that we're in deep trouble. Because at some point, with the impetus to be responsible deriving from the consequences of irresponsibility (in this case, as bad as can be imagined), when do the responsible people turn on the rules and the rule-breakers? And in what form?

    Or - is a new set of rules (a shadow system, so to say) formulated, that simply ignores the mainstream version?

    *Embedded Video has been removed from this post until the author can figure out how to prevent autoplay!*