Hangover after the oil frenzy

On the human race at his feet

Sallying forth, sword in hand,
Through blood and filth,
Where the burning metal is shining!
And Satan leads the dance!

Above lyrics are known to any comparatively educated person. But how many people give a thought to the fact that the throne of the precious metal was overthrown, when Charles Gounod’s opera – based on "Faust" by Johann Goethe – was first shown on the Paris stage in 1859? And that it was occupied by a dull brown-black viscous slush with a fairly specific flavour.
The gold still has not lost its appeal to a man. Meanwhile, nearly 200 years have passed since the oil has become a driving force of human civilization. And, alas, if we compare the number of lives sacrificed to those gods, the comparison will be not in favour of gold.
The history of oil looks ambiguous. Humanity is familiar with this fossil resource for more than five thousand years: the ancient inhabitants of the Middle East used it for lighting and construction, and the ancient Egyptians have been using it to mummify the dead. However, the true booming of oil began only in the late XIX century along with the advent of the internal combustion engine.
The first motorists bought fuel for their self-propelled devices at pharmacies in volumes, which were too small to start opening special shops. Industrialists, responsible for ‘car addiction’ throughout the world, provided the rapid growth of oil production.

The reason for that was the age-old human craving for comfort: today we cannot imagine ourselves without electricity and heating but, after all, it is mainly produced by the use of petroleum products. As a result, in just a century, we have come to a disturbing point, when scientists and experts say that the resources of oil, which has become the foundation and the essence of our civilization, will end.
There are a lot of debates, but the majority of scientists adhere to the version of the biogenic origin of oil: the product of the decomposition of biological organisms over geological times. Tree trunks, dead animals, etc. were transformed into oil and other hydrocarbons under certain conditions. This process is believed to take millions of years. And now, in less than two centuries, we have practically exhausted the fantastically huge reserves.
Yes, we still have hope for shale deposits as well as those that exist at the seas and the ocean shelves. However, its production is associated with considerable environmental risks, but what would a man not to do to save the familiar comfort!
Actually, oil means much more to us than we use to think. It is not only light and heat or the ability to travel fast in a car, train or plane over long distances. Oil derivatives products are the clothing made of synthetic fabrics and the ubiquitous plastic and various dyes. No wonder the Great Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev once said that to use oil as a fuel is like burning banknotes. It’s a shame that we did not listen to him.
Oil has played its role in the development of science. The most prestigious scientific prize is still paid from interest on capital, which has revenues from oil production. Alfred Nobel had a direct bearing on the "Branobel". It was a successful and technologically advanced enterprise for that era.
The beneficial effects of oil on civilization have its downside. Pacifist Nobel invented explosives of huge force hoping that, having such devastating weapons, people would no longer wages wars for the fear of mutual destruction. However, during his lifetime of the society awarded him the titles of "Merchant of Death" and Blood Millionaire."
We don’t openly curse the very same oil. Scientists have found that due to the use of oil as a fuel for transport and its input into development of technologies, three times more people have been killed in the wars of the XX century than in all wars for the previous two thousand years. Three times more!
And so many countries have suffered because of it in the last decade! Democracy is good but few would deny that the oil companies of the anti-Iraqi coalition countries and, first of all, the United States feel quite at ease in Iraq. And Syrian oilfields in the territories captured by ISIS became the driving force behind the global terrorism.
Fates of many were broken and destroyed by oil... Oil like the biblical golden calf is able to generate in others selfishness, greed and disregard for other people's needs. And that’s what is really sad and even scary.
So, what do we have? The Nature or God or a Supreme Intelligence – it’s up to you to decide – provided mankind oil as a rich source of not only energy but, first of all, as the material for the mass synthesis of useful and necessary things: from synthetic fibres and pavements to drugs. For five thousand years, we, without really understanding what we have got, used it sparingly and one can say carefully.
However, as soon as we discovered all the opportunities provided by oil, a mad race began - with the ultimate goal of banal fattening the pockets, even if it takes the killing hundreds of thousands and millions of people. And during this race we, according to experts, have already passed the "oil peak": its production will be less and less.
Riding a powerful engine that runs on gasoline and diesel fuel and heating ourselves with the oil-fired boilers, we completely abandoned studies allowing us to use other sources of energy. The promotion of "the green revolution" in energy and transport, launched in the past decade, does not count. Its results still remain for the most part ignored. Its real return comparing to the coal and oil is highly questionable. And why would they spend serious money on an alternative when hydrocarbons bring the guaranteed and considerable profit?
I do not call to abandon the use of oil at the state level straight from tomorrow. But I urge to finally come to our senses and use what we have for the benefit of all mankind. And do it with great care and maximum efficiency.

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