How Not To Worry About $200 Per Barrel Of Oil

Here’s a story that caught a few people’s attention. Over in Europe, France actually, there is a mother who is living proof that even if oil hits $200 per barrel, it wouldn’t phase her or cause her to change her ways. How is this possible? It’s actually quite simple really. Vivian Norris deMontaigu is one of many who shows us Americans how it can really be done if we tried.

Vivian relates in her blog how she saves a small fortune each year by not needing a car. In Europe, mainly in the west, trains and fleets of busses are the norm not a subsidized afterthought. In France you can purchase a yearly metro rail ticket for $400 and you are good to go! Vivian even has an employer that pays for her train fares. Let’s see an American company do that one!

She also brings up a quite valid point that needs to be addressed. While every industrialized nation in the world is shouting about how good Biofuel is, no one is taking into consideration the effect of mass production of this fuel would take on local food supply. Another idea along the same lines that she brings up, and I agree with, is that no one is taking the effort to grow sustainable food resources for their own people. An example would be for Mexican corn to be used to make tortillas in Mexico. If we as Americans went back to growing and buying locally, imagine how much fuel would be saved. Imagine how much emissions would drop if we took the transportation factor out of the equation. Farm markets are all around, so why not use them? Instead of only changing the fuel that is used, why not change the fuel consumption as well?

I myself can relate to parts of what she writes, if even in a much smaller way. Up until recently I lived in a small town without my own car. I would walk a mile and a half one way to catch the local bus; which only cost me $30 per month with a pass. This is how I would get to work, and then reverse to get home again. I became a fixture at the local library where I could get some movies and quite a few good books. As of April this year I moved to where I was only ten minutes walking from work, shopping, the grocery and other places. The bus route passes my house, and within a few minutes walk I have access to three bus systems to three larger areas. I have my garden, which has saved more than I expected in food with the vegetables. There is a gentleman farmer two houses away that sells his harvest. There are also two farmers markets in the area that I can get to.

While Ms. deMontaigu states in her blog that people should move to where there are sidewalks, I honestly don’t see the need for sidewalks. If there is a clear path to walk or ride a bicycle, why not use it? A mile and a half takes roughly 30 minutes time to cover. It also gives you time to consider what you really need to spend and what is not a necessity at the time. This also cuts out other “needed” things such as gym memberships. If we take another person along, hey, you get to have an old fashioned conversation. This was another thing I did with a few people. And you get to see your neighbors from time to time. Another point she brings up is trading surplus with friends. I want to add onto this one by saying that if you get together with another neighbor, or two, and do a monthly bulk food list, you all save lots of time and money. If times get hard and you don’t really need some of the extras laying around, trade them for food. It does work.

Yes, oil prices going up to $200 per barrel is a bad thing. But if you are not using the SUV to go the half mile to the Burger King drive-thru it won’t matter; especially if you’ve also gotten into the habit of using the kitchen for more than a storage space.

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