Friday, May 1, 2009

Gone with the wind.........

Last evening, Kevin and I attended a bio-diesel seminar at a local community college. Kevin is building the bio-diesel plant at SuperSod (where he works) and he was looking for more info and ideas; while I went out of curiosity about the science behind bio-fuels.
While viewing their bio-fuel reactor was part of the seminar, we were also in the classroom part of the time. We were shown all kinds of charts and graphs showing the world's estimated oil supply, and the old demand of most countries of the world. Of course, we all know that the US consumes most of the world's oil - at 26%. Other countries only use a fraction of that: China, 6%; Canada 2.7%; the UK 2.2%; and so on. We were also treated to the usual Global Warming speeches, about how Americans driving their SUVs and using too much energy is killing the planet. (I strongly dissagree that the planet is dying - changing, yes. Dying, I am not convinced.) All of this prefaced the instructor's teaching on the science of bio-diesel.
It is undeniable that the US uses more oil that anywhere else on earth. While I may disagree with the theory of global warming destroying this mighty planet that GOD created and controls, one would be foolish to deny that Americans over-do on just about everything: whether it be eating, debt, drama, and the Burger King mentality of "Have it your way"........ and oil consumption.
On our way home afterwords, we discussed this matter in depth. I "tested my theory" on Kevin, and he agreed.
I am persuaded that the increased demand for oil began with the decline of the small town an close knit communities; which most likely began during the 1930's. (In my humble, unprofessional estimation.) People moved from their big farms, small farms, and in between farms to the bigger towns and cities. Or if you lived in the counrty, you now had to drive a greater distance to find employment.
The small hardware stores were replaced by Lowe's. Burger King replaced the corner diners. Food Lion replaced a back yard vegetable patch. General Stores were pushed out by Wal Mart.
Farms were shut down, and we now import most of our food from other countries.
The places that produce things have to have them shipped long distances, and then we have to get in our vehicles and drive to town to buy them; several times a week, in most cases.
I have read in many historical books and novels, as well as seen depicted in movies, etc. that not so very long ago in this country, a trip to town was a big deal, and was an all day adventure at times. You got a bath, put on clean dress (or ovralls, if you are a dude), loaded the "younguns" in the truck with a picnic basket of cold chicken and fixin's, and headed off to the town with your list.
Dad picked up a new shovel, seed, and nails at the hardare store, while Mom got flour, sugar, fabric for a new dress for little sister at the drygoods store. Everyone got a Coke for a nickel, and caught the afternoon matinee of some good ol'show at the only movie theatre in town.
These are what is wideley refered to as "the good ol' days". People lived with less then, and were happy. People valued the things they had more; like their one vehicle; their only radio; the things they used in their kitchens.
If you visit small towns and communities like that today, you will find businesses closed; streets empty except for the occasional passing car going to the big town. You will find old houses and farms empty, abandoned, grown over, and run down - with a great few exceptions- such as our farm.
I am not dissaproving of Wal Mart or Burger King in the least bit - I like a Whopper just as much as the next person. I also love my DVD player, 62-inch big screen tv, mp3 player, compurter, vaccum cleaner, blender, and trusty 2004 Ford F-250 truck. I am sure Kevin really appriciates his tractors and convenient hay making equipment, and the fact that we're not gathering hay by hand and putting it into huge stacks instead of bales. I am not suggesting that everyone pack up and move to the counrty and start an organic farm,either! That is unwise and imprcatical. Farming will be for some, and not others. This is just the way things are now....... everything changes. Even Kevin drives 35 minutes to work, and we live on a farm!
Perhaps I am just too traditional, nostalgic, and obsessed with the ways and the things of "yesteryear". But I think if we all took stock of our lives, we would see the areas of excess, the ways we waste, and the things we take for granted.
Will we run out of oil? Only God knows the answer to that. Will our technology catch up and sustain us for years to come? Who knows. Our futures, and the future of the planet, it in the mighty hands of our loving Father.
We can all learn from the "good 'ol days", and remember them with fondness through books, movies, and stories from our grandparents. Those days will never return, though.... they are
"Gone with the wind."


Herb of Grace said...

Excellent post. And now you have saved me the trouble of writing one for myself today. I will simply link in to you!


Christi said...

Coming from Herb of Grace and I love this post. If everyone just stopped and took stock I think it would make a huge difference. :)

Susannah Forshey said...

I have a few other related theories which sprang up in my mind when I read this post. I think the Industrial Revolution sparked a huge change in people's thinking: people's goals went from settling into a home, family, and just providing the the goal of "get rich quick." Maybe the promise of creating an invention and selling billions of them tantalized people away from country, rural, self-sufficient living. I, too, am saddened by how distant we are from the reality of life....looking around my house, I see 4 corners of the earth represented....and thousands of gallons of non-renewable fuel. :(

Hosanna said...

I forgot to mention that we do use bio-diesel in our farm equipment. Once we get our gas-guzzling truck paid off, we're going to look for a diesel truck so we can use the bio in that, too. I should mention too that bio-diesel and ethanol are completely different. Bio-diesel if made from veggie or animal based oils. Ethanol uses corn, of course - which is a food supply. There is no way this country can grow enough corn to create enough ethanol to meet our demands, and have enough left for food. (Corn is not just in the can or on the cob, it is also a huge part of livestock feeds; thus our beef, chicken,eggs,milk, butter etc.)
Right now Kevin makes bio fuel using a renewable source: used veggie oils he picks up at restaruants. As we learned at the class, however, there is another renewable source not commonly used: algae. Some scientists testing this grow the algae in tanks with fish in another tank producing the *fertilizer*. Then they remove the algae and squeeze out the oil, then use it to create the bio diesel. Pretty cool. The nifty thing,too, is that you can make your own bio diesel using a hot water heater, two 50-gallon drums, some pumps, veggie oil, glycerol, and methanol. Very neat.

Lauren Valentine said...

Also a friend of Elisa's and thoroughly enjoyed the post. I would have really liked living in the good old days. I hate Walmart...but go there at least once a week. Shameful but close to a necessity at this stage of my life.