Oh, for those good days without fossil fuels!

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Maybe it’s time to start scaling back on our leisurely lifestyle to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and start reverting back to the pre-1900 horse and buggy days for our transportation systems, and the “snake oil” pitchmen for our healthcare system, and no medications, no cosmetics, no fertilizers, no computers nor IPhones, and shorter life spans. Our leisurely lifestyle has been driven by those “chemical ingredients” that are derived from the fossil fuels of oil, coal and natural gas that make all the “stuff” associated with our lifestyles, as they are NOT derived from nuclear electrical power, nor from intermittent electricity from solar panels and wind turbines.

Looking back, the development of the internal combustion engine at the beginning of the 20th century, combined with the introduction of mass-produced affordable vehicles, got people moving on an unprecedented scale — and we haven’t looked back. Yes, it’s crude oil from which we have produced transportation fuels, but more importantly for civilization, it’s the related chemicals and by-products that have revolutionized our infrastructures and dramatically improved our quality of life and especially our leisurely lifestyle.

The good news is that the chemicals and energy from fossil fuels have enabled us to cheaply build and run wondrous machines that give us the mobility to choose any particular climate and the ability to increase the livability of the climate, has made us safer and masters of climate from natural and man-made threats.

The international aviation industry has been booming, with aviation fuel consumption more than double what it was 30 years ago in 1986. Worldwide, the consumption of jet fuels is astoundingly in excess of 225 MILLION gallons PER DAY to fly those huge aircrafts.

Those huge cruise ships are consuming on average, 140-150 tons of fuel per day, which works out to roughly 30 to 50 gallons of fuel PER MILE !

And by the way, it’s those two industries, the airlines and cruise ships, that were the catalyst to the hotel and theme park leisure industries that were not accessible in the horse and buggy times of our society.

Complimentary to the international aviation and cruise industry are the billions of gallons of transportation fuels being consumed to get passengers back and forth from airports and the various ports, all in an effort to travel and see the beautiful cities and sites around the world, i.e., the tourism industry.

The good news is that the fossil fuel industry has been the major contributor to industrialization, economic growth and the creation of jobs in all the infrastructure sectors and all the industries that are the basis of our lifestyle and economy, and technology continues to get ever better at minimizing and neutralizing the risks. The bad news is that we’re all getting older and sicker.

Interestingly, a few side benefits associated with shorter life spans associated with those pre-1900 horse and buggy days would solve a few of our current financial problems:

•   The unfunded liabilities of every city and state for those growing defined benefit retirement entitlement plans would be instantly solved by eliminating decades of retirement benefits per person.

•   The single payer health care program to provide free health care for everyone may work be eliminating the exponential medical expenses associated with older folks.

•   Social Security would never run out of funds by eliminating decades of payments per person.

•   World population growth would be stagnated and relieve pressure on the world’s food supplies.

Rather than reverting back to those good-old emission free days without fossil fuels when lives were dirty, smelly, difficult – and short, we should continue to efficiently utilize the elements from crude oil, coal, and natural gas that have provided all the “stuff” in our lifestyle, to improve the lifestyles of all those on this planet! In addition, we should also be augmenting electricity from intermittent renewables to operate all of our ”stuff” and gradually reduce the burning of our crude oil and coal.

Ronald Stein is founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine

Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland (570dc) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Our?

If it were really a question of altering "our" lifestyle, the Green movement and Green parties wouldn't even have arisen. No, it is a question of scaling back your lifestyle, by people whose own lifestyle will not regress one hour into the past.