Sierra Leone RPCV Eric R. Green writes: Will the coming oil crisis be the end of suburbia?
Every semester I’ve shown “End of Suburbia” to my classes to mixed reviews to the message. I’ve warned them that it will be too expensive for most Americans to own big trucks or SUVs, especially at the current way they are made to consume gas. This means our lives are going to change dramatically. Predicting social change can be difficult, especially for long-term future.
The worst-case scenario is the total decline in our economy with a depression, social disorder and wars between states and communities for the remaining sources, much like the CBS TV action series “Jericho” in which residents of a small Kansas town are cut off from the rest of the world after major terrorist attacks.
The best-case scenario is that we have minor inconveniences and we find ways to use energy more efficiently and wisely. Alternative energy sources will need to be developed to their full potential, out of necessity, like wind and solar. Whatever happens there is one truth that many Americans will have to face. We must change our lifestyles. We cannot continue to use natural resources the same way we have in the past and present.
Is there a political solution? With the national election coming up in 2008, some of the presidential candidates in both parties are talking about energy policy and this crisis, but few are telling us that we have to give up our lifestyles and big SUVs.
Even if it’s the truth, who is going to vote for a candidate who tells us we have to live with less in the future? What we will need is a “World War II kind of effort” to deal with this issue just like the “greatest generation” that had to deal with in personal sacrifice and rationing of goods and services. Our current greedy culture stresses individuality above all so the psychological aspects of this type of change will be one of our biggest challenges. Read more.