Recent debate about energy consumption, pollution, global warming and the increased frequency, intensity and destructiveness of hurricanes ignores the issue of the needed conservation of an essential natural resource which is of fixed supply. The reason why minerals like gold, diamonds, platinum, silver, etc. are considered precious is because they are scarce and exist in fixed amounts. Petroleum also can become more precious and costly, as it is being used, because to use it is to cause it to become more scarce and of diminished supply. Petroleum use and demand, when it outpaces supply, results in increased prices for consumers, in the short term. In the long term and without other energy alternatives, the consequences might be much more dire.
Petroleum, like all natural mineral resources, taken from the ground, is fixed in the amount to which it exists and can be extracted for use. In other words, it is not a manageable and renewable natural resource as are lumber, trees, livestock, plant and/or wildlife not yet extinct.
Because of this, the conservation of petroleum is essential to the future well-being of most of us who depend on it for warmth, employment, transportation and other uses. When it runs out where will we all be then? Will petro-dollars have to be burned as a source of energy and, thereby, destroying the wealth of those now amassing it? As a native American sage once said, “Only after we destroy the last living thing will we know we cannot eat money.”.
Global warming may or may not be taking place. If it is, then it may or may not be impacting the frequency, size and intensity of hurricanes. But, in the future, petroleum supplies can be completely depleted. That is, unless there is some kind of biochemical process, unknown to science, which keeps the petroleum supply constantly replenished. Doubtful! Without petroleum as a source of energy, how much of humanity will continue to prosper and survive?
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