Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Energy Crisis

In light of the debates last night I thought I would re-post on my opinions about the energy crisis in this country. I had a very unique experience and I can't help but feel that if every person had an experience like this they would become more tolerant of difference of opinion as well as more protective of our countries valuable resources.

We just recently moved here to Forest Grove, Oregon from Chicago, IL. This was a trip we did in a U-Haul over a four day stretch. I was able to get a up close and personal view of the country that most people fly over or just get to see in a thumbnail in google image.

It is very difficult to imagine what the this country is like even in this day in age where you can be in a part in Japan with just the click of a button or a flip of the channel. Even with the largest television screen you can not fathom the size or the wonder because we are also bombarded with so much fantasy its hard to grasp the immensity of nature. It is also hard to gather a non biased opinion about the local people of an area because film or blog is brining it to you through the perspective of the presenter. I will try my best to bring this experience to you but if you ever get a chance to drive to your vacation spot or really take the time to see new places there is no better thing then actually doing.

This trip changed every aspect of how I thought of the consumption of energy. When we first started the trip we saw the classic corn fields passing by. Corn is our most fossil fuel intensive crop. We have all seen fields as we drive down the road but when you start to drive miles and miles and realized the quantity of fields and the trucks of corn going out it really starts to boggle the mind.

We passed trains that stretched with hundreds of cars filled to the brim with coal. Some trains were loaded with lumber as they passed along a treeless field of farmland. Above them loomed giant windmills. In some of the most secluded parts of the state the vast sky was interrupted with large webs of powerlines. They seemed to go on for an infinite amount of time.

The most dramatic lesson came to us in North Dakota. We had to drive in one stretch from Minnesota to Montana because of the oil boom in North Dakota. Every single hotel, motel and apartment had been filled by people working for the oil companies. We stopped in two cities and in all of the small towns outside of the city. All were full. At the same time we hit Dickinson ND tornados were touching down. We were locked in a gas station (not the safest place I am sure) for about 20 minutes. There were a few locals there and they seemed so angry about what the oil companies had done to their town. They said rent 3 years ago was maybe $100 - $200 and was now a couple thousand. You couldn't buy new property there or rent a hotel for a vacation. All of this happened when the government changed regulations on how oil could be drilled to meet our high demand for fossil fuels.

Every time I eat a piece of fruit from the other side of the country, shop in a store that has the exact same items as a store 2000 miles away or even spend a few hours on the computer I am reminded of the amount of energy it takes to get these things here. How much time and miles have passed by to get something from point A to B. I was struck again by this fact when buying eggs at the farmer's market. The eggs had just been gathered that morning and the lady was explaining to another that most eggs bought at the store could be over a week old.

We all need a reminder of what it takes to power this country. We also need to realized the quantity of resources it takes to power this country. We need to conserve, buy local and care. We need to think about the diversity in this country and realize not everyone is going to think the same way. We need to broaden our horizons and start thinking more cohesively instead of selfishly with small boundries. We can not think small when it takes such a large expanse to keep our daily lives in motion. 

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