Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We are mortal. Hear us scream.

I'm not sure when I first became aware of my own mortality. It was probably in January of 1999 when one of my hallmates in the dorm died in a car crash. That was hard, but nothing compared to my realization of this summer.

This summer I became aware of the mortality of the human species. For about a month I was depressed in a way I've never been depressed before. The thought of having a child someday, which was always a pleasant concept, suddenly seemed like the ultimate selfish act. Things are only going to get worse. Where do I get the right to bring a new life into this world?

All at once, I acutely felt how precarious our position as human beings is on this planet. The mortality of the human species lies in our nature - our desire to make war, our desire to consume without thought to the consequences, our inability to think in the long term.

Going to Bosnia a few years ago made me see the impact of war, but in a localized fashion. Now I really fear for our future. How can we resolve the energy crisis while our resources are being diverted to feed the war machine? How can we change our ways when all we care about is oil, at any cost? How can we so completely destabilize a region of the world? What possible benefit will it provide us with in the long run?

I have many questions now. I don't have answers yet. But I'm no longer as depressed. It probably helps that I've always been cynical. Most importantly, however, I realized I can't ignore the problems of the world. Instead of wallowing in self-pity for the human race, I'm looking to the future.

I'm not sure yet what I'll end up doing in the long run - but my fascination with the intersection of international trade law and science only grows with each new topic I'm exposed to.

The human race may be doomed in the long run, but we can prolong our species' survival. And in the meantime, we need to work on green alternatives to oil since we cannot change our dependence on energy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there really were a serious commitment to alternative fuel, a great leap forward would be possible within one hour. Because this is just a pipedream, our blathering about alternatives is exposed as PR.
Consider: Diesel engines can use just about anything for fuel. The reason they can is because Rudolf Diesel specifically designed them to be able to use renewable vegetable fuels (peanuts, if I remember correctly. Man, those late 19th-century inventors loved those peanuts). Diesel of course is the guy who committed suicide after a failed petroleum lobby attempt to persuade him to join the dark and oily side.
One thing that's not leaving any time soon is prominent Zionist money machine and girth-improver McDonald's. Fast food joints like McDonald's actually pay to dispose of the grease they use many gallons of on a daily basis.
The *only* modification a Diesel engine needs to run on a substance several major national restaurant chains consider to be a waste product is a heater to keep the oil from congealing, and that's only necessary for cold winters. A tractor-trailer not going north of a good portion of the country wouldn't even need that. It takes fifteen minutes at most to install, and hey presto, reduced dependence on oil.
Now, how much that did you know already? None of it is a secret, certainly not from the auto executives who claim they need to spend millions of dollars and decades we don't have on doomed non-solutions like ethanol and hydrogen. And it could happen right now at a very negligible price (indeed, at a profit, since you'd be ridding an entire industry of its heaviest waste product).
What would you think if in the middle of WWII every American was blathering about metal supplies, but no new mines were opened, no recycling or collection drives were held, people who tried to do so on their own were legally persecuted or viewed as freaks and Americans were content to accept that no new metal would come until well after the end of the war? If we took this seriously, there would be no problem; we are only concerned with this as a PR distraction, and so the Japanese are going to kick our ass. Decade after decade of Toyota leading Detroit around by the nose, and it could end in 15 minutes if the powers that be messin' up wanted it to.

3:23 PM  

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