The greatest investment that one can make for their future to be prosperous is to invest in your community, environment, and each other. This however requires seeing your community and your environment anew. So a renewing of the mind and attitude of our people and leadership in general is a must.
One of the greatest gifts given to us is our planet earth along with the sun. Without the sun we die. At present, we don't have to burn fossil fuels. We don't have to use anything that would contaminate the environment. There are many sources of energy available; some are known to many (e.g. Solar, wind, etc) and some are not (e.g. electrostatic power, thermionics, fusion power, etc). Fossil fuels such as oil and coal allowed our civilization to progress to its present state of development. However, these energy sources are limited and non-renewable, and one of many environmental dangers.
Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources which are continually replenished such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. Solar and wind energy are well known to the public, but the true potential of these mediums remains unexpressed. Solar energy, derived from the sun, has such abundance, that one hour of light at high noon, contains more energy than what the entire world consumes in a year. If we could capture .01 of a percent of this energy, the world would never have to use oil, gas or anything else. The question then is not availability, but the technology to harness it, and there are many advanced mediums today, which could accomplish just that, if they were not hindered by the need to compete for market share with the established energy power structures.
To understand why it is so critical for our people to think of renewable energy investments is not only to understand environmental degradation, climate change, etc but also Peak Oil. How easily could we replace the role of oil in our style of consumer-led, growth based economy? Not very. But Peak Oil is simply a fact. Peak Oil is NOT synonymous with "running out of oil." But the most urgent issue before us does not lie with identifying the precise moment of Peak Oil. What we need to be most concerned with is the day that world petroleum demand outstrips available supply. It is at that moment that the oil markets will change forever - and probably quite suddenly. And when that happens it really would not matter how much money one or even a country is making as so much their ability to use renewable forms as energy as well as their ability to produce the basic life necessities (Food, water, etc) at home. In order to understand what "Peak Oil" means, we need to share a common understanding about how oil fields work and how oil is extracted. For this I will use the work of Chris Martenson in his Crash Course series. A common misperception is that an oil rig is plunked down over an oil field, a pipe is inserted, and then oil gushes from a big, underground lake or cavern that eventually gets sucked dry. It turns out that it is pretty much just solid rock down there, and oil is only found in porous rocks, like sandstone, that permit the oil to flow through the rocks crevices and pores. No vast caverns or lakes of oil exist down there. Oil has to be carefully extracted from what turns out to be a very solid rock matrix. It's better to think of an oil field like a margarita, where the oil is the tequila mix and the rock is the crushed ice. When an oil field is tapped, we find that the amount of oil that comes out if it follows a very prescribed pattern over time that ends up resembling a bell curve. At first, shortly after the drink is discovered, there's just one straw in our margarita, but then with excitement more and more straws are stuck in and more and more drink flows out of the glass. But then that dreaded slurping sound begins, and now, no matter how many new straws we insert, the amount of margarita coming out of the glass declines, until it is all gone and we are only left with ice. That's pretty much exactly how an oil field works.
Every oil field exploited to date has exhibited this same basic extraction profile. And what is true for one is equally true when we measure across many oil fields and then sum the result. Because individual fields peak, so to do collections of fields. Peak Oil, then, is not an abstract theory so much as it is a physical description of an extremely well characterized physical phenomenon. How much remains to be discovered is a theory, but the process by which oil fields become depleted is rather well-understood. Peak Oil is NOT synonymous with "running out of oil." At the moment of peak, somewhere around half the oil still remains. But something interesting happens at the halfway mark. Where oil gushed out under pressure at first, the back half usually has to get laboriously pumped out of the ground at higher cost, obviously. Where every barrel of oil was cheaper to extract on the way up, the reverse is true on the way down. Each barrel becomes more costly in terms of time, money, and energy to extract. Eventually, it costs more to extract a barrel of oil than it is worth, and that's when an oil field is abandoned.
The benefits of investments in renewable energy are many. For us in Sint Maarten the more critical benefits are: reduction of money outflows for oil which helps our balance of payments and currency risk, reduction of the cost of living in the long term, job creation, and a better return on investment than pensions and savings in general.
Soualiga Social Movement