RE: What happens when the oil runs out.

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Sun Sep 24 2000 - 15:00:20 EDT

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            You state that "I don't think the metro would work in an American
    > like Houston or Dallas. One would have to dig thousands of miles of
    > tunnels to
    > allow people to be within 6 blocks of the Metro. Without that, no one will
    > ride
    > it. Besides, the living patterns appear to be different in European
    > cities.
    > Everyone lives downtown. In the US everyone wants to be in the burrs."
            I agree, the current population density in North American cities is
    too low to have an effective and efficient mass transit system. My point
    was that North American cities have to change and become more compact, if
    they are going to be functional in a post-oil era. I know that this is
    easier said than done, but there is, MHO, no other option. Winnipeg, the
    closest major city to our home, is a typical example: the older sections of
    the city have a reasonably high density of houses. As people become
    wealthier, they moved to the suburbs and left the core of the city to the
    poor. The roads to the suburbs and the bridges across the rivers connecting
    the roads are generally subsidized by the city, as are the services
    (electricity, water and sewer). With the poor comes an increase in crime
    (not that crime is limited to the poor, but the authorities tend to pay more
    attention to protecting the rich than the poor) and that accelerates the
    flight to the suburbs. A typical case of positive feedback.

            The end result is that, collectively, we use up proportionally more
    than our share of our natural resources and I'm sure that this is not good
    stewardship of our resources.

            Governments could help to provide a solution by making city centres
    better places to live, rather than helping the flight to the suburbs.

            I agree with your view that "... we need to lose our fear of nuclear
    and build the plants now or the French (who are almost totally nuclear in
    electrical generation) will be the ones to conquor the world this century.)"
    The fear of nuclear power is as irrational as the fear of spiders. Yet, we
    allow unsubstantiated fears to dictate national policy. Uranium is one of
    these elements for which we have not found any other use than to convert
    part of it into electrical energy (using uranium as a colouring agent for
    pottery glaze has long since prohibited).

            In response to my suggestions about car pools, you state "Companies
    will have to be more sensitive to letting people go on time. There is
    nothing worse than having to make your ride wait an hour while you finish
    the job your boss just gave you, or waiting for your ride to finish his job.
    That at least has been my experience with car pools." In that regard, I
    have been very fortunate in that the main place of employment for most of
    our town's population is only 16 km away and that we had standard working
    hours, so that car pools worked very well. Again, when the oil crunch
    comes, companies will have no choice but to become more sensitive to the
    requirements of car pools.

            In summary, the solutions to the increasing oil crisis (I paid 71.5
    cents/litre for gas last Friday) are available now. What's missing is the
    will to put them into practice. Will I like to change? No, of course not.
    I prefer the luxury of a warm car in the winter and a cool one in the summer
    and I don't like to wait for a bus any more than the next person. But
    sooner or later, we'll have little choice.


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