Green Lifestyle

A Good Time to Go Green

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted May 22, 2008

The energy crisis the world now faces isn't just about money.

It's not only a pain in the wallet but a pain in the neck to navigate your way through irksome traffic and hostile lines at the pump.

And, in my experience over the past several months, the changes afoot in the way we fuel up are becoming more healthy, not only from an environmental or economic standpoint...

They're better for the soul, too.

A Sigh of Energy Relief

My life as a motorist may have come to an end unceremoniously, when someone plowed into my Jeep overnight back in September of last year.

But in the preceding months I found myself cursing my commute more and more.

Not because the trek to work was long, mind you, but because it was very short.

I didn't do the calculations exactly, but I'm almost positive I was burning more gas getting up into the parking garage than I was gliding down the slight hill towards the Chesapeake Bay here in Baltimore.

It was ridiculous, and I wanted a way out that wouldn't involve me taking a huge financial hit or getting any ribs cracked.

That late-night hit-and-run was a blessing in many ways.

I paid off repair debt accrued over the year prior as I complied with state inspections ("Why couldn't my deft demolisher have done me that favor before I got a new exhaust system," I thought).

I also handed in my parking pass and got familiar with the bus system, and I'm building a bike with the help of fine folks at a local collective called Velocipede.

Every time I glance up from my magazine or iPod and see the price of unleaded as my bus goes past a gas station, I shake my head in disbelief.

And I immediately feel a real sense of liberation.

I certainly don't expect the diesel truckers of this nation, or most commuters, or anyone for whom driving is an inescapable part of life, to share my glee right now.

But I do expect that as citizens and consumers we are all biting our fingernails at what the flow of American life will be like in five, ten... or even just one year from now.

It's not just something to ruminate on, or a hypothetical situation.

What People Assume

The International Energy Agency came out Thursday with an announcement that significant downward revisions are likely to be made this year after an extensive survey of the top 400 oil fields in the world is completed.

Before, the IEA just looked at demand from you and me and our countries, and calculated where they thought prices might be heading or how much oil would be slurped up given economic conditions.

Now, they're finally looking at what's underground.

IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said that the outcome of his agency's new approach may be that "the oil investment required may be much, much higher than what people assume."

"This is a dangerous situation," he continued.

As someone who's extricated himself from the oil economy in the most direct way, I say it's an advantageous situation.

Travel by mass transit can get me almost anywhere in the world (including to Europe this summer for a renewable energy company research trip that I expect to net several more winners for Green Chip International).

And the advantages are clear to green investors, whether you've ditched driving or not.

Heck, if you've made the adjustment to hybrids or plug-ins, you can keep the car and still pad your pocket!

What it comes down to is this...

Oil broke $130 a barrel this week, and all signs point to $150 from here.

Renewable energy stocks are also pushing higher, and oilmen like T. Boone Pickens are doing what would have been mind-boggling ten years ago—pushing their own billions into clean power.

It may only be for filthy lucre, but the energy transition will come with different combinations of motivation, whether it's one guy who's sick of commuting or another who wants to make billions.

More and more, those personal and financial choices are coming together, and that's what we're all about.

Until next time,

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Sam Hopkins