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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Oil is a curse...

Those are the words of an African expert on the effects oil will have on that continent Right now, the economies of sub-Saharan Africa are growing, which is a good thing. But these economies are all sucking on the teat of Big Oil, whose affinities have proven to be disastrously fickle. We all know of the paradise Big Oil has created in the Middle East. In a grander perspective, the after-effects of oil-based capitalism has accelerated man-made climate change. All of this makes me wonder, is oil some natural plague?

Can anyone think of one good thing oil has brought humanity? Yes, besides endowing the Clampetts' with their fortune. Sitting here I can't think of one. I own a car, bought gas just today. I am certainly as addicted as to oil as the next American. My livelihood depends on it, no matter how much I ride my bike or use public transportation. The guilt I feel about this, though, has began to subside with the dawning realization that oil is some kind of natural curse. Like the Ark was a supernatural forbidden for Dr. Jones, maybe oil is that same thing for humans? Would our lives be so much more awful without it? We all know the unstoppable force that is capitalism. I have no doubt without oil we would have created some other means for our industrial rise.

I feel as if we are on the precipice of disaster. Yesterday's events remind me that maybe you never know what a disaster is until it is really happening to you. In that case, I hope that soon we realize the grave portents from our dependency on oil and stretch our capacity to survive beyond that of our lifetime. Tonight, this is my most heartfelt wish.

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