Our Oil Disease

Our disease is global warming and rampant pollution, but you all already know that. Drive down the hill in Hamilton on a warm day and you can see if for yourself. Try and sit outside on a smog day – feel how hard it is to breathe.

The cause of our disease is our reliance on a crude resource; cheap, dirty, oil. It greases the wheel of the economy. Everything we have is built on cheap oil; our wealth is tied directly to this heavily subsidized industry. The oil companies know this and they are not going anywhere; our levels of consumption are not dwindling. The government is doing little to avoid our slow deaths.

If we want to cure ourselves, we need to realize that we have a role to play as stewards; this world is ours to protect, not to destroy. We have no right to do what we are doing. We need to find ways to reduce our dependence on oil and find alternatives to oil.

But how, you ask? By taking the bus more often and eating locally produced and in season foods more often, by changing how we consume. By pressuring the government to actually implement pragmatic environmental legislation that works to reduce our economy’s reliance on this collective heroin. Incentives need to be put in place to get the private sector investing in alternatives, ones that actually work, not just hydrogen. We need a fundamental re-evaluation of how we transport goods, how we plan our cities; we need to make it easy for people to use less oil. We need to make a low-heroin diet part of our culture.

Most importantly, we need to use the market to do this – what people pay at the pump needs to reflect the true cost of oil; all the costs that are associated with it. These funds can be used to develop new technologies that will bring about change and provide work for people in our community. It may be expensive in the short term, but it will be much cheaper than inaction over the long run.

We just need to make the right decisions, at every level: personal, relationship, family, community, municipal, regional, provincial, federal, and international. We need to harness human ingenuity efficiently and with sound logic. This is called an investment.
Why are we not doing this right now? Because we don’t care enough – if we cared we would be doing something to change it. It is time to step up, time to get things moving. Time to take what you are good at, and apply that to these issues that we know exist. Because if we do nothing, as we have been, we will stay addicted, we will keep shooting up the black slime, right into our veins. It is the hardest addiction to break, but break it we must.