The Economics of Alternative Energy.

Photo by Beth and Christian |

When you look at the alternative energy sources today, we’re advancing at a rapid pace to develop renewable, clean and sustainable sources of energy. However, these alternatives are even less ready than we think.

We wonder why Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries keep oil prices from rising, and if you’re confused considering how high the price of oil is today it’s comparatively low when you adjust it for inflation. The answer is clear - it discourages conservation and the development of alternate fuels that would otherwise completely sabotage their economic pillar. It works because we let them.

But could the same mechanism provide a solution to the problem itself? We have reached peak oil in several countries in the past because corporations like GM made gas-guzzlers such as Hummers and SUVs that killed little fuel-efficient cars. This is obviously a massive over-simplification of the problem. But hydrogen technology is still in its infancy and has yet to become a substantial force in the automotive industry. So our hopes are pinned on cars like the Prius which are a formidable variable in the market and are making their impact felt. This is without much advertising from Toyota but in spite of which there was a national and international debate that brought the issue front and center.

People had to wait in line for the ‘privilege’ of paying a premium to the sticker price to buy the car. This kind of self-advertising power culminated into the company allowing the customer word of mouth, and the innumerable mentions of the car whenever journalists reported on the hybrid vehicle phenomenon to advertise the car for free. The Prius, as a normal-looking car available only in hybrid form was tapped to play poster child for the whole hybrid movement. That's not just free advertising; it's advertising that money can't buy.

This tells us that awareness exists; that a global conscience and responsibility towards our environment exists and that tapping it to further the eco-friendly movement and gain momentum is in sight of our horizons. Putting this momentum to use in pressuring political groups, in establishing further awareness programs as well as ad-campaigns, and in raising funds to counter the massive coffers of mega-corporations and oil-rich plutocracies in manipulating the market and the government should be something each one of us should strive for. To give a more in depth view on what you can do politically, I encourage investigating some Canadian Environmental Lobby groups.

When you look at the world, you learn over time to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world. Do you know why? Because it’s the only thing that ever has.