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PHOTO CAPTION: Professor Richard Heinberg, a senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

Rethinking Our Oil-Soaked Lifestyle

Joanna Weiss OpEd on the BP oil disaster and the implications of peak oil.

Published: 14-Jun-2010

LIKE MANY people, I spent a good portion of last week looking at pictures of oil-drenched birds and marveling at the chutzpah of BP. The company’s ads are contrite on the surface but brazen underneath, filled with images of pristine beaches and industrious volunteers, suggesting that soon, all will be well in the Gulf of Mexico so offshore drilling can start again. Just buck up, America, and have faith! Stiff upper lip and all that.

Pity the birds; hate the company. But I couldn’t help but wonder how much I should hate myself, too. My life, after all, is one giant petroleum glut, from the diapers and diaper rash ointment for my son to the toothpaste in my bathroom to the Lycra in my jeans. Oil gets me to work and back, puts food on my plate, gets pumped into the tank in my basement every winter. Imagining a world without it is next to impossible.

But there are some people who are trying.

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