High gas prices — the silver lining…


As difficult as it may seem, there is a great deal of good news when it comes to rising gas prices — there is also a great deal of pain. But this post is all about the good news. Happy Easter.

Gas prices approaching $5 a gallon in April 2011 -- Time to start thinking about what $10 gasoline will do to your lifestyle.

First of all, let’s talk about food. Our book, this entire blog and all of my speeches are aimed at one thing – helping people take charge of their health by making much better choices in what they eat…simply moving back to the natural diet for our species. It would be great if the prospect of vibrant health, avoidance of chronic disease and a host of other environmental and sustainability factors would be enough incentive for humankind to change what they eat.

Sadly, I don’t think that the vast majority of the people will make such a change of their own free will. They will need to be forced. And that is exactly what expensive fuel is going to do for them. For many, the very high gas prices in our future may very well save their lives.

High energy costs will lead to more heathy things like organic farming, local produce and a great deal more nutritious whole plant foods on our plates.

How so? High energy prices will make plant-based foods much more desirable. As we learned from research for our book, on average it takes twenty times more energy to produce one calorie of beef than it does to produce one calorie of plant foods like potatoes, beans, rice, etc. What does this mean? It means that your Big Mac is going to start costing a whole lot more and that nutritious plate of grains and fresh vegetables is going to start looking much more attractive. Then, while saving money, you’ll also be saving your life. How convenient is that?

Destined to be a thing of the past, this kind of housing layout is one of the many products of cheap energy that will be a part of a "brief period of history" -- about 100 years when mankind used up all of the easily accessible fossil fuels.

Where is that land for the local farms going to come from? With $10 gasoline, there’s going to be a lot of people moving out of the suburban sprawl to smaller, denser, more efficient housing near shopping, schools and public transportation.

No longer viable for housing, that former “sprawl” will be taken over by small farms — that will be able to deliver fresh vegetables to a market near you — and you’ll be able to walk there from your home.

A neighborhood market in Paris, France. Ultimately, you'll be living in a neighborhood where you can walk to a market like this one.

While the “quality of our lives” will ultimately change for the better, as you can imagine, there is going to be an adjustment period when humankind must learn to consume far less energy than we are consuming today. That adjustment period is going to be very painful for a lot of people. And if it happens too quickly, there’s likely to be widespread unrest, chaos, riots, violence, and fighting as seven billion people around the world do whatever it takes to feed their families.

But if we handle it right, ultimately, the quality of life will be better for humans. The era of cheap energy has not been a bargain for our health, our environment, or our overall quality of life. We built huge homes far from public transportation and drove giant vehicles because we “could.” But it didn’t necessarily make us any happier. Like it or not, $10 gasoline is going to change all of that.

Walking down the street to buy some fresh flowers -- in Paris

The good news is that we can start moving in the direction of that richer “quality of life” now. We can eat healthier while saving energy and we might want to think about moving to a much more efficient home in a place where you can walk to schools, banks, markets, restaurants, parks, cultural events, friends’ homes and public transportation. Still not sure about this “quality of life thing?”

Let me ask you one question, “Where would you rather spend your vacation, Paris or Houston?

Paris or Houston? Where would you like to vacation? So far, the answer to my question has been unanimous.

For a closer look at what’s going to be driving the higher gas prices, you might want to take a look at an earlier post Worried about gas prices? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
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One Response to High gas prices — the silver lining…

  1. Peter says:

    Unfortunately human history is littered with examples of only addressing problems as a result of a crisis even though such events are reasonably foreseeable. Peek oil is reasonably foreseeable although when we hit peek is debated. The west should have seen what is coming during the oil price shocks in the 70s. For a while we did take notice and funds into alternatives began but didn’t last as soon as the oil price dipped this source of funds evaporated.
    The west has failed to plan adequately by investing in alternative energy systems over the long term. I can see Americans with their low fuel taxes screaming when oil prices hit $300 a barrel and blaming everyone else except on their own wasteful behaviours. Much of this price pain could have been mitigated by long term investment. My feeling is that oil prices will rise dramatically before alternatives at scale are in operation. This will force behaviour change.

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