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: