In 1979, I came back to Canada after 12 years of overseas service in Africa and Europe. The first sight shocked us was the size of cars. I guess I had forgotten how big North American cars were. My 15 years old daughter said, “What do you do in there?” During those days, I guess it didn’t matter how big a car was and how much gas it burned, gas being so cheap. Cars were made like perishables with poor quality. By then, I had driven in three continents and in Japan. I realized that, on the average in Africa, Europe, and in Japan, gas was at least twice as expensive as was in Canada. All other types of energy were equally more expensive.rn

Did we suffer discomfort and inconvenience because of high energy cost? No. In fact, we were more comfortable in Europe: things were better made thus lasting longer – less waste, and public transport was cheap and convenient. In Europe and Japan often trains take less time than airplanes from downtown to downtown.

I think that we in North America have been spoiled by cheap energy and have become lazy, while people in other parts of the world advanced way ahead of us in technology to deal with the days of less fossil fuel. Already thirty years ago, every household in Cyprus had a solar panel on the roof, for example. Wind-turbines around here and everywhere were the technology developed in Denmark. Hybrid cars are Japanese. High price of energy has a benefit, believe it or not. It forces us to develop renewable source of energy and new technology.rn

I see the end of the use of fossil fuel in my life time, because of increasing demand from emerging economies like China and India hiking price daily. We will soon be in a real trouble hanging on to the old technology dependent on cheap non-renewable energy. North Americans are ingenious people. It’s not too late. I think high price of gas forces us to move toward that direction.

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