A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

23 May 2008


Okay, so Metro has some friends--don't look like that, of course he does. Now said friends through a combintation of bad judgement and bad luck became abruptly homeless a couple of months ago.

Now he-friend, let's call him Nom, is heavily in debt. Like, going-into-bankruptcy-looks-like-the-only-option debt. She-friend, call her Jet, is earning a ridiculously low wage flogging footwear at a local schoppingplatz.

So you'd think they would have long since adopted habits of frugality.

In their short stay in the Metrobasement, they have manged to come to personify every FSM-would-rather-you-didn'ted negative aspect of North American energy use.

The Metrohome has never had a problem supplying Mme and I with hot water. Jet takes a bath every morning, and I've learned not to do dishes while that's happening.

They have brought into our home another computer and a giant-screen plasma TV. I have been down in the basement and seen one of them using the computer as the TV lectures the empty sofa not ten feet away. It is a rare day that only the computer is left running. I have never seen both devices shut off at the same time.

Lights ... all the friggin' time. I went downstairs to get something one night and found every light in the main area on, despite the fact that Jet was at her job and Nom was at his, and they would be gone for at least eight hours.

One Monday after Nom's kids had visited, I went downstairs to the room they share when they're here. The laundry room lights were on, as were the bedroom lights. And to cap it all, a string of Christmas lights was gleaming brightly on the wall.

Yesterday Nom went to the place where Jet works in the evenings. He was intending to stay there until she left, six hours later.

He took his car.

She had taken her car.

Her workplace is roughly 1.8 km from the house.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the thinking that's going to have to change. And we have a choice.

We can:
a) Change it now, while there's still a fair bit of oil and energy kicking around.

The net effect will hopefully be to slow the rise in fuel prices. Knock-on benefits will include lower pollution and carbon emissions. As we continually improve our energy performance, we'll also reduce our oil dependency.

b) Change it because we're forced to as we hit Peak Oil and begin to see the first few wars (and I'm talking blood and bullets, not prices) that will be the result of us insisting on maintaining our current consumption patterns in the face of the facts.

The net effects will be horrid. We're talking famines. We're talking infrastructure failures. We're talking water supply failures and all that jazz.

In fact, we're probably talking about guys with guns and spiked shoulder pads hijacking fuel tankers. Hell, we've had that since long before gas cracked $3.80 a gallon US.

And so much of it could be avoided if I could persuade them to just turn off a couple of dammned light bulbs!

Well, maybe a few million other folks too. But you have to start small.

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At 5:11 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can already see the first of those wars - Iraq, Georgia, Kryzygstan, Azabijhan - even Burma. Admittedly some of those seem to be civil wars but there are external influences at work there - and the motive is petrocarbons.

At 10:17 a.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Bonjour M Metro

Well done, M & Mdm Metro

Sadly, it seems every good deed has to be punished, but there are rewards !!!

Very vorrying - Archius Dudius a un point (or is it une pointe ?)

Hier in Inglaterra, folk will forgive bread going up from 7p for a cheap loaf (Marketing stunt by Supermarkets) to 35p

... but they will NOT forgive Sauron the Brown for increasing Petrol prices from 89p a litre to £1.14

We should be very apprehensive about the electoral implications in the USA of similarly increasing petrol prices

AND YET so much oil could be saved if only the greedy Americans were prepared to turn their thermostats down by just 2 or 3 degrees celsius

Tres troublent


At 12:39 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

What incredible abuse of your generosity. I can scarcely believe it.

I say read them the riot act. If they don't like it they can go sponge off someone else.

At 10:04 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

@ M. EaGLe
One of the interesting things about the North American attitude to fuel consumption is that it may finally be changing. Months, if not decades late, but nonetheless changing.

Consider that both John McAncient and Hilary Clinton advocated a "gas tax holiday", one of the stupidest instances of populist puffery on offer this campaign season. Obama refrained from suggesting it.

Yet the idea seems to have quietly fallen off the media fridge door. Why? Because ordinary Americans seem to be coming to the realization that change is what's required, not pollution subsidies.

The money I don't mind. It's the mindset--and the knowledge that there are still people out there who think (or rather, don't) this way.

I think their numbers may be dwindling, though. A recent poll by the Pembina Institute (of all the sources!) suggested that support for a Canadian carbon tax is on the rise--even though most people don't believe it will be "revenue neutral".

At 8:10 p.m., Anonymous PJ said...

The mindset bothers me too, Metro. I seem to be the only one at work who flips off the bathroom light while walking by the open door. (With David Suzuki whispering in my ear,
"YOU have the power.")

At 1:26 p.m., Blogger Pugs said...

I am an offender of said crimes laid out in this diatribe. I tend to leave the lights on everywhere I go, drive to the store which is literally a half block away, watch tv as I surf the net and to top it off I don't recycle my beer bottles. Since gas has gone up to over $4.25 a gallon where I live, I turn every fucking light off, drive only to work and back, watch tv OR surf the net and can't afford to drink beer anymore...

At 1:36 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

The power of one :-)

The power of the market. Which explains why a certain mindset regards endless rising prices as a good thing: Once no-one can afford anything, then the environment will return to a pristine state.

At 9:34 a.m., Blogger Philipa said...

Yo! Roomies! Stop being selfish assholes and turn the damn lights off as well as the TV and PC too or we'll send the jehovas Witnesses round followed by the Green party and the Mormons.

Or if that doesn't work and you can't bring yourself to kick them out, Metro, can you hook up a bicycle powered generator for them to create whatever power they use? They'll both be in Olympic form and thank you (and will move out ASAP)


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