It isn’t often I find somewhat enlightening articles in the NYT, but this one struck me as worth the “long” read (3000 words). Smith’s outline of the history and dangers of our fossil fuel dependency is useful, but so is his inclusion of an all too brief glance at a necessary transition, not only to alternative energy technologies but also to simpler, convivial local economies and cooperative lifestyles. He’s hardly in my slowcialist world, but for me he has captured some of the elements of Ulrich Ducrow’s 1995 “Alternatives to Global Capitalism” and our urgent need to find some dynamic global combination of alternative communities of living examples (of which there are already tens of thousands) and working within and against the “system”, not just to reform it but completely re-design and re-set it – a huge challenge, as most of us know.
The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem
What my time working on a North Dakota oil patch taught me about America’s fossil fuel addiction — and how to curb it.
Credit…Artwork by Scott Gelber
By Michael Patrick F. Smith, NYT Feb. 5, 2021
Mr. Smith is a folk singer and playwright based in Kentucky. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown,” a book about his time working on the oil fields of North Dakota.
Look around you: chances are that every object within your field of vision contains refined petroleum.