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The Gift of $200-a-Barrel Oil

Necessity is the mother of conservation. Let’s face it, we, as a society, will not surrender our excesses until we are forced to do so—primarily because we don’t see our excesses as excesses. One car per driver, cell phones in every purse, MP3 players in every pocket, strawberries in January, bananas in the northern hemisphere…these all, at various times, would have been seen as extravagant luxuries. In most places in the world, they still are. However, now, in our society, they’re commonplace to the point where to go without them seems absurd. These are the everyday items of life. Yet, the world is changed. Peak oil is approaching, if not past. Cheap energy is over. The consequences of our oil consumption is choking off the ecosystems from which we were born and which we need to survive. Many of us have realized this. Many of us remain unconvinced—though this summer’s iceless north pole will pull more heads out of the sand. Conservation is no longer optional—conservation of land, oil, soil, water, energy, food, and money. Yet, we do not because we do not have to. The planet’s tipping point will not be advertised on TV or be available in 10 minute clips on YouTube. We won’t know. We can’t watch, and therefore the threat of humanity’s destruction—as funny as it sounds—is not enough to demand action. The good news is that there is one potential catalyst which will universally prompt immediate conservation across this culture: money. We will all drive less if we can’t afford the fuel. We will all forgo our cell phones if the monthly bill interferes with feeding the kids. We will stop buying power-hungry devices to entertain ourselves if our electric bill is already unmanageable. We will reform our lives as necessary to fit new economic constraints—because we will have no choice. It’s already begun. As the price of a barrel of oil climbs, so too does the level of conservation. Oil at $100 per barrel forced us out of SUVs. Oil at $120 per barrel kept us home on the weekends. Oil at $140 per barrel forced us to plant vegetable gardens, ride a bicycle to work, and research solar hot water heaters. I have hope for the future of humanity because I have faith in our ability to adapt to the pressures of the world. The pressure, however, must stay on. I welcome $200-a-barrel oil and every incremental increase in between. It will be a difficult transformation. Our society was built on the idea of everlasting fuel and the permanence of car culture. As we now know, this was a devastating miscalculation. We will need to evolve toward sustainability. Cities will grow as people migrate toward public transportation. Suburban homes will rot in place as they sit on the real estate housing market—too expensively far from work. Gardens will replace yards. Solar-raisings will replace barn-raisings. Communities will rediscover themselves to help members through a difficult and shared transformation. A sustainable society isn’t only possible, it is inevitable. Whether through total collapse of the world’s economic market and infrastructure, or through careful steering of society before the end, the next generations will inherit a planet where gluttonous consumption is no longer an option. The oil is gone. And with it, our oil culture.

Let’s Make Bernie Sanders a Bestseller!

As the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to climb in the polls, crushing online fundraising records and frustrating party insiders and pundits along the way, we’re looking to put Bernie’s message on bestseller lists everywhere in time for the national debates in October and November!With the first Democratic debate to be held on October […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Dig In: June Roundup

The latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, and special sales, promotions and new releases.   Food Lover’s Guide: 25% Off ALL Food & Drink Books Whether you want to make […] Read More..

Learn How to Connect with Chelsea Green Authors Near You

Each year, we partner with dozens of organizations to bring our authors closer to you and your community. With our website redesign, it’s now easier than ever to find out where your favorite authors are going to be and when. Head to the “Events” tab to explore these new features and tools: Filter events using […] Read More..

New Look, New Tools, New Ways to Connect with Chelsea Green

Welcome to the new, redesigned digital home of Chelsea Green Publishing! Over the years you have asked for better ways to connect with our authors, to share information with friends and family, and to buy books from us. We listened to your feedback and integrated your wishes with a fresh design that allows you to […] Read More..