Response to the persistent belief that “Big Oil is root of all evil”

• The best way to dismantle the machinery of Big Oil, and other corporations, is to start with our own daily lives. The steps we take in our everyday lives to shrink our consumption will seem very small, and may seem like they can’t possibly lead to change, but actually voluntary self-restraint (by those of us who are willing and able) may be our most powerful hope for moving the needle. Energy goes into all goods and services, so any reductions we are willing to make will help add up. We, the relatively well-off Boomers, are the ones most in a position to do this.

EV technology and the trucking industry (Facebook Reel video). This Canadian guy seems to really have given this some thought, regarding the trucking industry and electrics. In this very short video here has done a super job of breaking down the various variables of electric vehicles versus conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered. I know a lot of you bristle at anything that seems to be anti-EV. But, the speaker in this video really does seem to be in good faith trying to present it fairly and logically.
Yes, for sure, no one likes to breathe in gas fumes!! But we also don’t like the child labor and other problems associated w the lithium batteries. And frankly, I often feel greenwashed by the EV industry. Maybe there are some simple filters and other ways to reduce the gas fumes of conventional autos. Also, maybe hybrid technologies will improve so the batteries are not so problematic. And of course the long-term solution is to reduce driving miles in general; boost trains & other public transport.

• We must always remember how dramatically the air quality and water quality improved during the Covid shutdowns, when nonessential travel was radically reduced. No I’m not arguing for another government-imposed shutdown; I doubt that that would work even if the government were to get that organized and try that again. Rather, I continue to bring it up because it is such a striking live demonstration of how quickly we can improve air and water quality, carbon emissions, and so on by radically reducing travel. I think we Boomers with our large numbers & relatively big wallets have a lot of power, which is why I continue to beat this drum.

• In my first Permaculture design certificate course, one of the most eye-opening things we learned was the concept of “energy slaves.” Basically, the amount of cheap fossil energy we have at our disposal is the equivalent to having a bunch of enslaved humans doing all of our work for us. The point is that it’s totally unsustainable. You might find it helpful to check out this “Energy Slaves” website. As they point out, “every American has 200 to 8000 energy slaves. … To give you an idea of what energy slaves are, consider what it would take to use human power instead of electricity.”

• Sid Smith talk, “How To Enjoy the End of the World.” Odd-sounding title but it’s very apt, if you listen through to the end of this hour-long talk. His message is actually very inspiring and offers constructive direction. Hosted by Greens of Virginia Tech, this popular talk by Sid Smith is the best overview of Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROI), and why we can’t fix things by simply “switching over to clean energy.”

• A fellow climate communication professional posted: “In 1910 the Baker Electric Company built an electric car with a range of 200 miles. That’s the range of some current EVs. 113 years later, imagine how many advances could have been made in EV technology — if we hadn’t been sidetracked by oil companies?” My response: Car-dominance is not good, regardless. What comes up for me is how many advances could have been made in our nationwide railway system, public transportation coverage If we hadn’t allowed public transport to be gutted by the highway system and oil companies.