After my angst of Peak Oil hit me as relayed in my last post, the crisis was pretty much complete. Having basically entertained all thoughts of how the future could play out, and carrying them out to the bitter end in my head had not really helped much, it didn't seem there was any way out of our predicaments. If I was depressed about the climate before, the looming energy crisis almost derived me of my will to live.
Don't get me wrong, I was really trying to enjoy life, despite everything. I had two sweet babies and a loving husband, what wasn't to like? But the thought of sticking around to watch the end of everything was too sad to consider. The best antidote to this feeling was to pretend everything was okay, and just go about my business. Or was it?
The fact of the matter is, once you've realized something of this magnitude, you can't go back. It's Pandora's box, it's the apple in the garden of Eden. You can pretend that you don't know what you do, but underneath it all, the worry is still there. You're merely lying to yourself. So while pretending that everything is all business as usual can dupe the outsider looking in, you can't dupe yourself.
At this point in the timeline, my husband and I had been invited to a wedding in November 2008, in the US. A good friend was marrying her best friend. We were looking forward to the nuptials and the festivities, and the kids were slated to go with us. But thoughts were swirling in my head. Flying uses an insane amount of fuel, fuel that's running out, and not only that, but the carbon emissions of just one person flying to the US and back were equal to the amount of energy it takes to power our apartment for over a year. And there were four of us in all.
How could I rationally deal with my angst of climate change and still pretend everything was business as usual? I couldn't, could I? I wrote about it on my blog as it was playing out. Reading the comment section brings back a lot of memories - the guilt of considering to forego a good friend's most important day ever, because I was a climate worrier. There was some hefty deliberation going on in my head!
It finally culminated. And not quite how you think. My husband Mikael was doing everything to convince me to attend the wedding. Good friends, see my mom and godmother while we were at it, take a train instead of flying domestic, carbon offsets etc. etc.. But then one day he came home from work, bearing a newspaper he'd been reading on the bus. He flung it on the coffee table, completely nonchalant. The headline was: Oil extracted from tar sands will bring climate change beyond the point of no return. I read the story, and my mind was made up.
To quickly surmise the tar sands subject, there are millions and millions of barrels of oil in tar sands, however, it must be ground out of the sands using machinery that requires a lot of energy to run. Using energy to extract energy = bad idea that seriously jeopardizes our habitat. However, because the quick and easy oil is running out, tar sands are next up. Go google it if you need more info. It's bad news, people.
So, how on earth could I justify increasing demand on something that would effectly ruin the habitat of my children and their children? I couldn't. My husband would be attending the wedding alone, alas. I'm not going to tell people they can't go off flying, this is my decision, about me, and only me. And as it is, I'm not living in a forest, foraging for my own food. I'm living in an oil hungry society, and I'm not ready to give up grocery shopping, hot showers and electricity yet. Seriously, for the oil left on this planet, would you rather eat or fly? Something had to go. I wrote about my decision on my blog here.
Listen, I live in Europe, I have family members living in the US. My husband loves to travel. I love to travel, for that matter! My mother was a stewardess and my father was a pilot for god's sake. I was born with jet fuel in my veins! This was not an easy or wanton decision to make. This was my personal stand to take against "Business As Usual". I'm not finished, there's still a ways to go. But it was a powerful start.