I keep having this recurring dream that is totally haunting me. I think it would make a good movie. It takes place in the future, let’s say around 2025. Earth is a festering dust bowl, all the systems have broken down and the global population is around seven billion. The numbers and the details are not as clear in the dream as I have described them, it is more a sense of utter hopelessness and despair.
The trees are mostly gone and when the sun’s rays finally reach us they are weak and feeble.
There are groups of young people who form rag tag gangs and whenever they see an old person, an old person like myself they all chase us throwing rocks screaming “wasters! wasters!” as they chase us down the streets.
I don’t blame them, we should have seen it coming. It really wasn’t any one thing that led us to this impasse but rather a series of events and system failures. The earth reached critical mass on our watch. We were all seduced by oil. I know for certain I was.
Of course when you use the words oil, gasoline, petroleum, or when you use the words plastic, or coal, it doesn’t sound very seductive. But when you stop to think how we were defined by our cars, or when I stop to think how I felt when I was approved for my first high powered two seater sports car. Twelve cylinder four thousand pounds of raging fury that purred like some type of demonic mechanical beast. When I think of the leather bucket seats, the Bose surround quadrophonic sound system when I think of the beautiful women that a car like that helped me attract then yes when put in those terms oil was very seductive.
I remember my first motorcycle; it was a technical innovation even though it just had a hundred and ten horse power coming off the back wheel, because of its low center of gravity stream lined air flow design and four cylinder fuel injected system it was capable of going from zero to seventy miles an hour in three seconds in first gear.
My second motorcycle was almost twice as powerful and weighed just twenty five pounds more. It was capable of reaching speeds in excess of two hundred miles an hour. This to me was oil at its most seductive. Sitting a on a high powered motorcycle that is going over a hundred and fifty miles an hours is an altered state of reality. It is man merging himself with the industrial beast and becoming one with it. Is it no wonder that so many of us from my age completely succumbed to its allure.
Towards the end whole families fell under the spell of oil. It would start off with two people and they would each have a car, then they would have three children and as each of them reached the age of eighteen then each of them would have a car and as they reached their child-bearing years then they would repeat the process. So we reached the point where just in America alone we were four percent of the world’s population using forty percent of the world’s resources, with most of those resources being imported from third world countries where the people lived in abject squalor.
And in order to maintain our lavish existence we had the best armed military in the history of the world and the wars we fought were constant and brutal.
But when China became a world power and started fighting for the same resources that we had for years laid claim to then the earth’s eco balance systems reached critical mass. Towards the end we found ourselves in a situation where if everybody was to come even close to experiencing our lavish life style then we would need four more planets like earth just for the natural resources.
We all knew on a soul level just what was happening but we were just too addicted to do anything about it. We did things like create a carpool lane system on the Los Angeles freeway system but it came about twenty years after the system had almost completely broken down, and it literally took two hours to go ten miles in your two hundred thousand dollar four hundred horse power car.
All you needed was two people to be able to use the diamond lane but even so almost nobody did. The reason being that we were over-populated and the only time that most people had to be truly alone was in their cars on their way to work and they were not about to give that alone time up by car-pooling.
At some point it became obvious that our country was being controlled by global corporations and the will of the majority had been upsurged by the lobbyists. This was devastating because it meant that neither our government nor the corporations were going to really do anything about the situation.
In America you had about two percent of the population controlling about ninety-eight percent of the wealth.
Most of us were almost totally enslaved by the tyrannical mass media mind control system. They programmed our diet, our lifestyle, and influenced just about every major decision that we made. They went after our children, programming junk food cravings into them before they could even talk, and since we as parents had been programmed by the same machine we didn’t even notice because we ourselves were totally addicted.
So as our devastating food addictions spawned over four generations our level of health and vitality diminished, until by the year 2040 over 40 percent of our nation was obese.
We knew that the amazon rainforests were disappearing at an alarming rate and the great pacific northwestern rainforests were disappearing at an even more alarming rate. We knew that they wouldn’t grow back in our lifetime. We knew that there was a huge island of floating plastic about 1,500 miles off of the coast of California the size of Texas.
Some of us even though about it when we stood in line at the checkout stand and
the cute little checkout girl said with a smile “paper or plastic”. And some of the more evolved amongst us said “neither, I brought my own bag”, but the truth be known even most of them forgot their bags a lot of the time. We couldn’t even make that one simple change.
We knew exactly what was happening and we came up with really cute sayings like “we didn’t inherit this planet from our parents, it is on loan to us from our children”.
I remember once in the late seventies going to an oil meeting to protest that a huge oil refinery with a very poor safety track record was going up just one block from an elementary school. When we drove up to the meeting I noticed that all of the protesters had driven to the meeting in gas powered cars. It was at that time that I knew that any further deliberations would be a study in futility.
When the systems failed it seemed like it happened all at once, but it really had been going on for years and years. Even as I was cruising up and down the freeways of Los Angeles in my high performance two seater sports car the air quality of Los Angeles was comparable to smoking twenty cigarettes a day. On bad days the very old were in danger, but now everybody was in danger.
The sun reacting with the chemicals in the air made now a murky brown, sometimes a hazy yellow. The scientists said it was a photosynthetic process of the sun photo-processing the ozone like a developer does a photograph. Only now the air was so bad until it was worse than our stage three alert which use to come and go twenty years ago. It was now a constant stage five.
The best way to describe it was akin to drowning on dry land. No matter how much you breathed you just couldn’t get enough air into your lungs.
No one was harder on me than my own children. They remembered the huge gas-guzzling SUV. They remembered all of the wonderful toys that I had, and they threw them in my face with the most bitter recriminations. I remembered filling up my gas tank and how they would look at me with such large innocent eyes and even then back in the glory days of the car culture I would feel a twinge of something being wrong with this picture.
Back then we would travel a hundred miles to go to a raw food restaurant and have a two hundred dollar meal. That is what you did in those day if you could afford it.
Only my oldest girl was able to reproduce and she bore me a grandson but he was sickly and died soon after birth. She never said anything to me directly, she would just turn away from me if I came into the room and tried to make eye contact.
Due to the global warming and the excess CO2 the oceans had turned acidic to support 90 percent of the life in it. The eternal sea was dead.
The list of horrors goes on and on. To be trapped on a dying planet and to know that you had a hand in it. I don’t have the same complete recurring dream every night. Sometimes the feeling is there but I can’t quite put my finger on it and then the memory will come back in the form of layers being peeled away.
The dreams are so real, what is really strange is having vivid memories of something that hasn’t happened yet. Like the first time that there was a real crisis in Los Angeles there had been a heat wave for three weeks in the triple digits and each day the air kept getting darker and darker. And then at the end of three weeks instead of getting a little cooler it shot up to 120 degrees from 105 and people started dying there was a mass panic with everybody trying to leave the city at once. All of the highways were clogged.
Before, the people of Los Angeles had been experiencing rolling blackouts due to the overload on the grid from all of the air conditioners and air filtration systems. But now the whole grid had just collapsed from the overload. It was simply unbelievable. After three days of the one hundred and twenty degree plus heat wave, total chaos ensued. There was not even an attempt made to pick up the dead or render aid to the dying.
The answers had been really simple… Solar hydrogen and a global shift from a carnivorous to a vegetarian diet, a shift from houses made of wood and concrete to houses made of bamboo, hemp, glass and earth.
The concepts that would have saved earth were fairly simple. Implementing them was damn near impossible considering how savagely the corporations fought to protect their bottom line.
None of us realized when we sat on the village green in 1976 that our seemingly harmless transgression would have such a devastating effect just two generations hence.
I would later come to wonder if in fact my efforts have been half-hearted. In 1998 my wife Jinjee and I had founded the Garden Diet Website dedicated to helping people become raw vegans. This was based upon a statement or quote made by ALBERT EINSTEIN:
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”.
It was only in the last days that this became obviously apparent to everybody; that by growing grains to feed to cows meant that over one billion people went hungry, because it takes ten pounds of grain to grow one pound of meat. The numbers were so clear when looking back, it was so easy to see what would have maybe saved our planet for future generations.
Another major discovery made around the beginning of the turn of the century before it was too late was made by a little known MIT professor of physics named Daniel Nocera and this is what he had to say about energy:
Planet earth now uses 15 terra-watts of energy a year. By 2025 scientists estimate we’ll need 30. How are we gonna get there?
Nocera says we could cut down all the plants in the world to make biofuels, – that would yield seven terra watts.
We could build a new billion watt nuclear plant every 1.6 days until 2050, – that would yield eight terra watts.
We could cover every inch of land with wind turbines, – that would give us two Terra watts.
Or, he says, we could just use the sun, which beams 800 Terra watts onto the earths every hour.
By adding cobalt and potassium to plain water it is possible to split water into hydrogen for just pennies. Nocera has come up with the first affordable way of producing clean energy which has enormous implications.
I was at a party in 2007 and happened to be talking to a very wealthy billionaire who had made a lot of his money in oil and when I broached the concepts put forth by professor Nocera he didn’t say that they wouldn’t work only that there was no money to be made from solar hydrogen.
And when I thought about it I could see that he was right. Once solar hydrogen becomes our clean fuel standard then it is all over for the oil and utilities companies. Because everyone will be able to produce all of their energy needs from solar panels located directly on their roofs.
In 2005 we attempted to build a village using the concept of solar hydrogen as a new energy paradigm. We came under such fierce opposition from a local newspaper until they were able to almost shut us down. That coupled with the global real estate recession we were almost totally wiped out.
I have heard it said that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. So we are now in the process of gathering our forces and beginning again but this time instead of trying to build a whole village we are going to start with just one house.
And even if we lose money on it it won’t matter if we are able to bring all of the different technologies together to make this concept of solar hydrogen work.