Saturday, 19 March 2011

This is not a political statement

News reports recently have been overshadowed by the terrible events in Japan, and in Libya, with Bahrain getting a mention now and then.

Japan was a catastrophic natural disaster that probably put several nails into the coffin of the "nuclear energy is clean" argument, and with just reason too. After all, in a nation renowned for buildings that withstand far stronger earthquakes than the one that flattened Christchurch, it still wasn't enough to wreak havoc with their nuclear power plants, so what chance do such power plants in other nations have?

With nuclear energy being ruled out as a sustainable option, that doesn't leave much to choose from.

Sure, there are wind farms, but anywhere one is planned there is a raft of objections from people who claim they support wind energy, as long as it was built elsewhere. Wave and tidal generation schemes are not yet anywhere near reliable.

And that leaves gas, coal and oil. Nice? Not!

Libya is an oil producing nation. It doesn't have the largest oil production capabilities, but still offers significant numbers of barrels per day. The Arab states, including UAE, Saudi-Arabia, Bahrain are typically oil producers, with Saudi-Arabia being the biggest and most influential, in terms of oil production.

Gadaffi has been suppressing his people for decades, as have many other rulers in North Africa and the Middle East. During the current wave of protests, Tunisia and Egypt both managed to oust their tyrants, and the Libyan people tried doing the same. Predictably enough, Gadaffi responded with hired guns and extreme violence. Even the Arab states condemned his actions, which is a tad rich, given their long record of oppression and brutality.

In Bahrain and Yemen, people started standing up against their oppressors, too. Yemen you hardly ever hear of, simply because their suffering doesn't matter to the West as they don't produce oil. Unrest in Libya caused global oil prices to rocket, and unrest in Bahrain added to that.

Then Bahrain allowed foreign soldiers in, to gun down it's innocent and unarmed people. The soldiers are hired guns on loan from various states, including Saudi-Arabia. And yet there is no UN Resolution to protect the people of Bahrain! Why not?

It's simple, really. The West is prepared to happily overlook those atrocities in an attempt to stabilise oil prices. In simple terms, the West is prepared to allow innocent people to be butchered as long as we can keep affording to fill our petrol tanks.

This is the world that over-dependence on oil has created. Next time you fill your car's tank up, ask yourself how many dead Libyans, or Bahrainians it took for you to be able to do that.

And what do our illustrious leaders do? Well, our neuro-surgeon of Transport Secretary, Richard Phillip Hammond plans on raising the speed limit! Spain, which has not always been the most forward-thinking of nations (remember General Franco?) are years ahead and have lowered speed limits. This had the immediate effect of lowering oil consumption as well as pollution, while making roads safer.

So what can you do about it? Write to your MP and ask for speed limits to be lowered. Write to your council and ask for the same thing. Drive slower when you drive, and drive less. Object to such stupid ideas as put forward by Hoverboard Hammond at every available opportunity, and explain to people why his ideas are bad.
Remember, this is the same idiot that also believes congestion may be solved by putting more electric cars on the road. Yes, electric cars that are as big as petrol cars, and no, I have no idea what mind-altering substances may have led that him having that particular delusion.

And above all else, get on your bike and cycle more. Cycle daily, and encourage everybody around you to cycle, too.

Viva la velorution!