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Part 6: The end of the age of oil

As America grows by 3,000,000 people annually on its way to adding 100 million people in the next 33 years, our planet home grows by 77 million people each year and will add another 2.1 billion by 2040.

In order to drive cars, boats, planes and fuel industry, Americans use 20 million barrels of oil each day while the rest of the world burns 62 million barrels. That equals 82 million barrels of oil every 24 hours!

When you multiply 365 days X's 82,000,000 barrels of oil burned daily, it equals a whopping 29.9 billion barrels of oil annually.

If you remember your science, it took two billion years to produce all the oil on this planet. In other words, when oil reserves burn up, we're out of the single major energy source that drives our society and most other societies on this planet.

How much is 20 million barrels of oil? Dr. John Tanton, publisher of The Social Contract at www.thesocialcontract.com, wrote a piece, "How Many Is Twenty Million?"

"In this age of millions, billions and trillions, it's hard to understand such numbers," Dr. Tanton said. "Twenty million is the number of barrels of oil we burn in the United States each day."

That's 42 gallons to each barrel (drum) at 30 inches tall and 20 inches in diameter, or 840,000,000 gallons burned per day. It works out, according to Dr. Tanton's figures, to three gallons of oil per day per person in the USA. (Source: The Social Contract, winter 2004-05, page 151)

He said, "Suppose we took 20 million barrels and stood them side-by-side. How long a line of barrels would that make? Let's do the math: 20 inches/barrel multiplied by 20 million barrels equals 400,000,000 inches. Divide that by 12 inches/foot, and you get 33,333,333 feet. Divide that by 5,280 feet per mile, and that comes out to 6,313 miles."

Dr. Tanton figured that would make a string of barrels, "...reaching from Seattle to Los Angeles (1,157 miles), from Los Angeles to Chicago (2,134 miles), from Chicago to Miami (1,377 miles), from Miami to New York City (1,281 miles), and from New York City to Cleveland (486 miles). Total mileage, 6,435."

"That's how much oil we burn in the USA each day," Tanton said. "The total global consumption daily rate of 82 million would be four times this amount, or 25,000 miles-the circumference of the globe at the equator!"

Dr. Tanton asks a sobering question, "How much longer can this go on?"

The simple, unadulterated answer is: not much longer.

You may want to read, "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil" by David Goodstein. He is a professor of physics at California Institute of Technology.

We used energy from the wind, sun, animals and rivers for centuries. Two hundred years ago, we became addicted to finite oil. "We have unintentionally created a trap for ourselves," Goodstein said. "If we turn to coal and natural gas, the resultant increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide may make Earth uninhabitable. Even if human life does go on, civilization as we know it will not survive, unless we can find a way to live without fossil fuels."

World oil extraction expects to peak in a decade. Goodstein, ever precise in his research, shows that those hoping for other fuels and substitutes to replace oil dangle their hopes by hanging from a thread over a cliff with no net or parachute. Societies as large as humans have created based on
oil, cannot-and will not--survive.

Even if huge oil deposits are discovered, it won't help much. Our expanding populations gobble them up. China stands on the verge of an industrial revolution of proportions based on 1.3 billion people. They expect to place a car in every Chinaman's garage. With our 300 million Americans using 20 million barrels of oil daily, you're talking four times that amount in China. If you look at the growth rates of 2.1 billion added to the planet by mid century, oil reserves don't stand a chance. We're all screwed, or, at least our children are screwed!

Goodstein said, "Fossil fuels have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide from 275 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution to 370 parts per million today. Continued burning will raise it to 550 by century's end, with dire consequences as to global warming."

We shall deal with global warming in this series. However, for those that scoff at it, they cannot persist with denial that nothing is happening to the planet when we burn 82 million barrels of oil daily as well as millions of cords of wood, natural gas and coal that warms our houses. Our extreme use of energy hastens extreme consequences.

What can we do? Goodstein said, "The best, most effective way to ameliorate the coming fuel crisis is to improve existing technologies for efficiency."

We can deny, bury our heads or pretend it's not coming, but the end of this Age of Oil threatens our civilization. It's coming as surely as the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka; it's as certain as Katrina hitting New Orleans.

What are you going to do about it? What can we as a society do about it? Let's demand two and four cylinder cars as the standard from Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, Toyota, Honda and all other automobile manufacturers. We don't need six and eight cylinder cars. We sure as heck don't need Hummers, Ford Expeditions, SUV's of any kind, Winnebago's, Prevost's and other land yachts that get five miles to the gallon. We need more mass transit in our cities. We might start charging $10.00 a gallon for eight cylinder engines, $8.00 a gallon for six cylinder engines, $3.00.00 a gallon for four cylinders and $2.00 a gallon for two cylinder cars. That kind of negative incentive would also bring positive incentive to inspire the auto industry into faster gear to create 100 mile to the gallon cars!

Additionally, "flex-fuels" already work from sugarcane fields in Brazil and Argentina. It's amazing they refined their ethanol fuels ahead of U.S. manufacturers. Why do you suppose that's happened? Follow the money! U.S. auto manufacturers drag their feet while kicking and screaming into the oil shortages of the 21st century. We might pour our creative talents into cars driven by sun energy transformed into electrical energy on a mass scale. How about wind energy along with wave power?

Again, instead of growing our population via immigration by three million annually on our way to adding 100 million Americans in 34 years, we must demand an immigration moratorium; national population policy and lead the world toward an international population policy that will allow future generations a viable and sustainable future.

To ignore our realities condemns them to the same consequences that befell the civilization and children of Easter Island. It's that simple and that brutal.

"The oil crisis may not hit until the next decade or the one following, but it will hit." David Goodstein

What you can do to change America for the better:

Whether we like it or not, global warming is upon us. We can take action to correct it. Please join www.stopglobalwarming.org for up to the minute information and action items.

Awareness Campaign web site, www.mcs-global.org, which is purely to help save and protect human health and environmental health globally. Diana Buckland is founder and global coordinator at diana@mcs-global.org or dbucklan@bigpond.net.au. Diana makes impact all over the world by alerting everyone about chemical sensitivities caused by poisons sprayed, injected and applied to our crops and elsewhere.

From Part 5 of this series, "Destroying our oceans", if you would like to become involved please refer to www.savetheoceans.org for a first rate lesson on how to take action in order to cleanse our oceans, restock our fish population, move toward recycling and cleanup of our world's most important living resource. Watch shows on PBS that expose where we threw two million tires into the waters off the East Coast and all the damage those tires are doing to marine life. You'll find out what you can do to have them raised from the deep. Additionally, check out www.greenpeace.org for actions at the national and international levels.

Check out www.populationmedia.org for an exciting method for creating overpopulation awareness in Third World countries. Their prime directive works with the media in order to educate and activate leaders and women worldwide.

Wooldridge presents a 45 minute program to colleges, high schools, civic clubs, church groups and political clubs across America titled: "COMING POPULATION CRISIS IN AMERICA: WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT". Go to his website for further information on booking the program. www.frostywooldridge.com
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Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
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