Stephen Kahn

Peak oil — what a drain

In Hard to tell, Humor on February 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Around 1976 or so, I was teaching high school English and speech in Tigard, Oregon (a suburb of Portland). One day I casually mentioned during a class discussion that the day would come when the world would run out of oil. (Since that time, the term “peak oil” has become popular to describe the idea that we have now consumed more of the world’s fossil fuel resources than remain for future use.)

One young lady in the class argued that plenty of oil was left and there was no danger of oil running out, at least in our life times. My impression was that she was from a religious and politically conservative family and this confidence had been instilled in her by her parents (and maybe her pastor). I disagreed with her point of view, I think mildly and politely, but she burst into tears and ran out of the classroom. That was about 35 years ago. I am curious what she thinks about it all now.

I suspect that today  she drives a Hummer, is a member of the Tea Party, and is a big fan of drilling in the permafrost of Alaska and under the ocean. But who knows? Perhaps she has become a radical anarchist tree-hugger.

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  1. Would you be willing to give your job to a black person to fight racism?

  2. stereotype much?

  3. Yes…that is why I would like to know which stereotype she followed…

  4. I can’t think of anything to say about your student that isn’t terribly snide. So I’ll just hint at the snide thoughts that I’m thinking without expressing them.

    I honestly hope that we will continue to adapt, though I wonder why we didn’t shift gears a little more pro-actively the first time it was obvious that building a civilization on fossil fuels was silly.

  5. We (human beings) are not as smart as we like to think we are. On the other hand, we are not nearly as smart as we need to be.

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