Energy is everywhere. Seriously, it’s everywhere. It’s in your clothes, it’s in your computer, it’s in the clothes you’re looking at on your computer. It’s the building block of life. Without it, the entire world would be a lifeless mass that sat around staring at each other, although we wouldn’t even be able to do the staring bit because, you know, we’d be dead.
“Energy independence” is a term we hear tossed around like Darfur references in a drum circle. The fundamental idea is that we shouldn’t be paying other people for fuel, but we should be using our own resources. Listening to people explain this to me is befuddling. I don’t understand why we have to work for something that we can just buy. Isn’t that the American spirit? It’s like having your obnoxiously bubbly, college hall-mate ask why you buy pre-made cookies instead of making them yourself. Honestly, because they taste perfectly fine and the dorm oven smells like dead mice. Plus, I live in America, land of liberty and fast food. If I want a plate of baked ziti, I’m not going to actually make it. I’m going to order it from Pizza Hut and then take a nap. Who cares if it tastes like cardboard soaked in dirty sink water? I didn’t have to do shit for it. Go America.
There is, however, a good point to energy independence…money. Most people have realized this dilemma when they open their wallets after a steak dinner and discovered that it doesn’t magically regenerate dollar bills. Recently, the price of oil has crept over $100 a barrel. For you nerds, that’s a brand new copy of “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” an extra controller, and a headset (but the crippling loneliness is free!). Obviously, this poses a problem, because American families don’t have $100 dollars to buy barrels of oil, and probably don’t have the garage space to keep them. There are a lot of proposed alternatives, but the idea with the most support involves harvesting natural gases on our territory. This would slowly cut our reliance on fossil fuels from the Middle East, making us a stable, self-sustaining country! FINALLY!
Sure, the idea is a great way to establish energy independence, but there’s still one issue…OIL IS A FINITE RESOURCE. Most people have realized this dilemma when they wanted to get high then realized their Terminator lunchbox doesn’t magically regenerate weed. People seem to ignore the fact that electricity lets you make more electricity. It’s a pretty simple concept. Look at this professional display:
“How can there be a shortage of oil?” you ask, while taking a sip from your oil-tini. “Didn’t we just watch the Gulf of Mexico receive an oil bath, or as I call it, a Jersey Shore baptism? Surely we can’t be concerned about oil running out. There’s still tons of it.”
You are right in one respect, person who drinks oil. There is still a lot of oil out there. No matter how many Al Gores or Leonardo DiCaprios tell us that we’re on the brink of destruction, there’s still a while to go. Different sources have proven that our energy efficiency will find ways to survive on fossil fuels upwards of 30-50 years.
So why are people waiting until the last minute instead of preparing for the inevitable? Because the moment when we will extract all fossil fuels from the planet, known as “peak oil,” is so goddamn far away. CEOs and stock holders of major oil companies, like Exxon, aren’t concerned with a problem that won’t occur for close to half of a century. They have yachts to keep polished and their teenage daughter’s Europe trip to worry about. Booking a limo-boat-plane isn’t cheap!
This is obviously problematic. It’s like telling yourself you’ll do laundry before your date on Friday, then all of a sudden it’s Friday evening and you’re forced to Febreeze the least wrinkled article of clothing on your floor. I blame Republicans. They like to mask pure greed with fuzzy sounding catch phrases like “more jobs!” or “lower taxes!” Republicans love talking about energy independence, because it falls right in line with their “pro-America” and “barbecue as currency” stances. But when you tell them it requires mitigating the all-powerful Oil Lords, they shut down and explode. It’s like watching a robot process conflicting orders.
“Uhh, I still don’t get it,” you stutter in between bites of oil-soaked pelican. “I’m going to be dead by then. I will have died while trying to be the first person to jump the Grand Canyon riding a horse riding a rocket. Why should I care?”
Because unless you plan on dying alone with no earthly connections, person who thinks up awesome stunts, you will have a reason to care about this planet after you’ve perished in an explosion of fire and horse limbs. Let’s put this into terms you can understand: lasagna.
Imagine you’re at a fancy restaurant, and you’re eating the best lasagna you’ve ever had. You want to share some with your kids at home, because you forgot to feed them lunch…again. However, if you keep eating the lasagna, there won’t be any left. So instead of conserving your lasagna, you just keep ordering more lasagna. Waiters bring out plate after plate and stack them into towers of lasagna fit for the gods. Do you save any of it? Nope, you put it away faster, because you see a Chinese man and an Indian man at another table eating just as much lasagna as you. You even force your terrified wife to perform a tracheotomy so you can stuff lasagna directly into your throat.
Problem: your waiter tells you there’s no more lasagna. You realize you’ll have to find more lasagna, so you invade a table next to yours and take their lasagna. Problem solved. New problem: the waiter explains that if you don’t stop eating the lasagna, there won’t be any left. You won’t stop eating, though, because your fork and knife are hard-working cutlery who deserve to do their jobs. The waiter then explains that if you keep eating, eventually there will be no lasagna and therefore no cutlery jobs, but you don’t listen. He’s a waiter. He doesn’t know shit.
Now, imagine lasagna that makes more lasagna every time you eat it. You would have way more lasagna. You could build a house of lasagna. You would have so much lasagna, that even Mario Batali would call you fat. Italy would immediately grant you citizenship. You could give yourself a lasagna facial at a lasagn-spa. You would have so much lasagna, that Garfield would say “that’s way too much lasagna.” Then, of course, you would give him some, and he would say “actually, this is the perfect amount of lasagna.” Wouldn’t you rather have that lasagna?
All I ask is that you consider your lasagna options, even though we still have a while to go before we’re out of lasagna. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck smelling like Febreeze, and that’s an awkward conversation to have in a movie theater. Trust me. I know.