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Can Do!

It can be said that humans are the most adaptive species on earth. Even cockroaches are afraid of sunlight. We build tools to do the things we can't do with hand and feet. The Doomsters posted on Energybulletin just go ON AND ON about how we're all going to die off and they're full of dookie. Lots of smelly dookie. I encourage them to off themselves and personally verify if there's any truth to religion or not. Since they're so selfish they want the rest of us to die with them its probably for the best they go first. Or only. Ahem.

As for the rest of us, those more realistic about change and not so afraid, I have good news. Its a big world. Its getting bigger all the time. The prospect of advances in biofuels, particularly scaling up biodiesel producing algae is very exciting. The same with using crop waste for bioethanol. I think its pretty clear we'll have a dual-fuel future: biodiesel and ethanol. We'll also see more electric cars. A friend at work bought one a week ago. He loves it and is using it for his commutes. Hell of a thing for a college graduate from Colombia. The almost total lack of development of electric trams is disappointing but that just won't be paid for until AFTER there's no fuel. And you still have to deal with armpit stink in a land where water is pumped over mountain ranges (California). I happen to think the Motorcycle is going to be the next big thing. The Anti-SUV. It goes everywhere an SUV can go and gets 70 mpg doing it. And carries, typically, the same number of passengers: 1, its driver. Most SUVs end up as the commuter vehicle, the daily driver with a fuel to weight ratio of 30 gal./week per single passenger (the commuter). Compare to a motorcycle with the same commute distance and you're looking at around 2-3 gallons, a 10:1 improvement in efficiency. No stereo, though that can be retrofitted, and the air conditioning is the more traditional kind (wind), but if 50% of commuter drivers went to motorcycles instead of SUVs, we wouldn't have to import oil anymore. Consider that. Given enough time, they will. Not because they're forced or mandated, but because it will first be a way to give The Man(tm) the finger, and later because its more fun, and later still because its Practical. And practical is very important. Its practical because its easy to convert a motorcycle engine to run on E100 or E85, since you can lift the engine out with your two arms instead of needing a garage and $120/hr labor. You can do the conversion on top of your work bench or a couple blocks on the garage floor. Its not rocket science anymore. Things change, and its not the end of the world anymore, just another transition, one so slow we don't even notice we're changing from nervous SUV-paranoids to thrifty small car drivers. We pity the SUV driver now, thinking of fuel costs, and admire the small car driver instead of the other way around. The Doomers said this would never happen. They said there would be riots and Mutant Zombie Bikers and the Golden Horde surging out of the cities looking for plunder, crying "Avast me hearties! Thar be plunder in them thar suburbs!". Not so much.

I wonder how hard it will be to pass some kind of law denying imposition or enforcement of highway safety standards on special experimental vehicles, and then setting up the permits for those for $1 at the DMV with a minimum inspection to include running lights for night-time use and an emergency brake? I want to see hobbyists making cars with welders in their garages, going up against the stupid American motor companies, now bankrupt and fading, so we have some direction forward. There's also the matter of converting homes to better insulation, smaller windows that lose less heat, and use of natural heating and cooling (like heat pumps or just opening windows after a hot day to let the house cool down) instead of compressor driven air conditioning. In some locations that won't work but in many it will help a lot. In the long run we'll just adapt to the heat and learn not to let it bother us. I find the sort of people who say they'd happily go mad with a rifle rather than give up their SUV, their air conditioning, and their TV shows to be suicides we shouldn't stop.

Can you adapt to the present? You already have. Can you adapt to the future? You'll get there without paying too much attention. Only those who cling to the past have no hope for the future. The cheap oil is gone. We'll get by on what's left. Buy a motorcycle. Learn to ride. Give The Man(tm) the Finger!