How I learned to stop worrying and love petrol


I found this a very interesting article.

It discusses the environmental benefits petrol has brought to the world and to humanity, and how it has contributed enormously to improving human health and our standard of living.

imageAmong these benefits are the removal of the starvation period at the end of every spring; the removal of huge piles of horse manure, and the associated stench and disease, from large cities; the concentration of crop farming onto the best soil on the planet; and the subsequent reforestation, return to nature, or less intense farming, of vast swathes of dangerously overused land.

When one considers what is the point of industrialisation, exponentially powerful technology, and scientific breakthroughs, much of it comes down to the rather mundane task of growing, transporting, storing and eating food. The Industrial Revolution has benefitted humanity because it made it easier to keep humans alive.  It has benefitted humanity, and the planet, by allowing the planet to support more humans utilising less land.

When we consider the next frontier for humanity – space – the endpoint of all the efforts going into researching, developing, creating and applying new technology; and the vision, resourcefulness and bravery of of the people who will travel into space in order to tame it; will likewise be the rather mundane task of keeping humans alive in an environment away from earth, whether it be on another planet, or the ships used to get us there.

My favourite moment in this article is the following observation:

“To most of us, the notion that we can have our cake and eat it too is mind-boggling. Yet, in many respects, this is what petroleum products in general and modern transportation technologies in particular have actually delivered.”

We have been conditioned to balk at the site of heavy industry and concrete jungles, but keep in mind that every aspect of this is designed to make our lives better. If it doesn’t make our lives better, a free market will ensure that it either fails, or finds a way to improve so that it does make our lives better.

In the words of “the Doc,” if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.

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David has studied history and political science at Melbourne University. His thesis was written on how the utilisation of Missile Defence can help to achieve nuclear disarmament. His interest in history was piqued by playing a flight simulator computer game about the Battle of Britain, and he hopes to one day siphon the earnings from his political writings into funding the greatest prog-rock concept album the world has ever seen.