Oil is Running Out - Hoorah!
Oil is running out. My friend John is of the opinion that when we do eventually run out, we will have to go back to somekind of Dark Ages. And there are many like him. There are many social commentators who predict the end of the world as we know it just because we will not be able to drive to work. But I disagree. I think the demise of oil would be good news for everyone.
There are 3 existing alternatives to oil:
- Steam (and air) power is still effective. Yes, steam is not as effective as oil. But so what? It is a multi-fuel option that can be run using anything that burns: coal, wood or dried plant material
- We still have wind and water. The very first electricity generating plant at Iron Bridge was hydroelectric. Wind and water can still generate serious power. There is an irony with these power sources: we think the old fashioned windmills and watermills are beautiful and integrated into the countryside while, at the same time, we hate the new designs because they are intrusive and noisy - which is true, they are. So, the good news is that all it takes is a better design and almost everyone should be happy.
- We discovered solar power last century and it is an established technology with improvements in design which continually drop the cost
And none of these sources require us to dig up large tracts of Africa in search of Uranium or build super-expensive nuclear fusion stations.
When the oil wells finally run dry and we are forced to go over to these technologies, we will find that it is not a step backward into a reduced and restricted lifestyle but a step forward into a much richer world
I firmly believe that people in the future will look back on the 19th and 20th Centuries as the true Dark Ages.