Hybrids and Other Choices

If you are one of the disbelievers that deny the inevitable depletion of oil reserves around the world, then consider the facts. We live in a finite, enclosed system of existence. That means that all the oil that has ever been here, and is now here, is all there is. There just "ain’t” no more comin’ that isn’t already here! It is a fact that fewer and smaller reserves are increasingly the stories on the discovery front. Yes, it’s true that heavy oil (like the tarsands of Ft. McMurray) is still a strong source of more oil, but there are only so many pockets of those too.

For many informed people, this state of affairs is not a shock. However, the imminent nature of the threat may be new to some. At the Global Film Festival, a film entitled, "Oil, Smoke and Mirrors” delineated that not only is the end of oil on the horizon but also is predicted to peak and begin its decline (taking into consideration increased demands, population increase, available reserves and potential sources of oil) in the next few years. The result of this causal variable is predicted to be wars (ultimately for control of oil, the stuff that drives not only business but also wars – you can imagine which nation is spearheading these), unemployment and shortages at the grocery store. Driving all the chaos is "peak oil.”

Yikes! So what do we, as individuals, do to respond to this? I’ve come up with a recipe of conduct for myself that embraces doing my part on a local level but thinking globally. Essentially, that means

recycling and picking up garbage on the street from time to time,

voting for responsible government (i.e. a social conscience vs. budget driven, and an ecological platform)

vocalizing my outrage to friends, acquaintances who accept or indulge in trolling (that is the destruction of the habitats of all creatures on the sea floor by scraping and harvesting everything without discernment)

using less energy (lights, electricity)

driving a car that uses less gas

In the short term, the vehicle that I want to invest in is a hybrid. That means that it uses both gasoline and electricity as a power source. At least, these hybrids are the most common. The most common reason to purchase a hybrid is that it uses less gasoline. The plus here is that these energy sources, working in tandem, are able to provide more power than a gasoline driven system. The other big plus is that the hybrid emits less toxins and pollutants than a gas engine.

According to Rick Roach, salesman for Nanaimo Toyota, there are three common misconceptions about hybrid vehicles. The first is that hybrid cars need to be plugged in to work. Roach reports that, "in reality, hybrid vehicles generate their own electricity and store it in the nickel metal hybrid batteries.”

The second common piece of misinformation is that hybrids end up costing more than gas-driven cars to maintain. Roach will tell you that, "Hybrid vehicles are maintained in the same way as a normal gasoline powered vehicle.” He says that, "There is nothing that needs to be serviced as far as the electrical components are concerned.”

Finally, people are under the impression that hybrid batteries must be replaced every two years or so. The fact, according to Roach, is that, "The hybrid batteries are not a lead/acid type battery, but (rather) nickel metal hybrid and are dry cell.” In addition, these batteries are warrantied for eight years or 160,000 km.

The other "cool” part of this product is that you may purchase a mild hybrid system (operates on gas only with the electric motor for extra boost) or a full hybrid (that allows the engine to switch from operating on electric only, gas only, or a combination of the two). It’s a matter of your pocket-book in combination with how serious you are in minimizing your personal negative impact on the environment.

On the other hand, we can talk on a theoretical level about a "perceived” lack in the world (you can talk about anything here – oil, water, money, love) versus the reality that we live in an abundant, endless universe. I personally subscribe to the latter. But I also believe that reality, according to how other people view and believe in it (especially the most powerful nation on Earth, i.e. the United States), will be driving global events. "No ‘man’ is an island.” In the resulting throws of these upcoming global upheavals and strife, I am still able to position myself (mentally and physically) within my society in a prepared fashion while still holding on to the notion that the universe is abundant; that we will eventually use alternative sources of energy.

In the meantime, I’ve seen the commercials on climate change and such too. It all points to people, each and every one of us, taking responsibility for what we are doing to Mother Earth – not in the future, but rather NOW. But action doesn’t have to be colossal or far sweeping. It’s about taking small but profound steps at home. I’m serious about doing my small part. I hope and trust that it’s enough.