There are a number of nations and regions that are rising rapidly in power, but North America is still the seat of most of the world’s wealth. One expression of North America’s privilege is its oil consumption. Particularly in the United States, more barrels of oil are consumed daily than in most other countries combined. That is partly due to the size of its population, but has more to do with the culture of excess that Americans have come to expect. Americans and Canadians alike do not like to venture out of their comfort zone, and in the current cultural climate, excessive oil use is part of their creature comforts.
North Americans feel entitled to owning one car per person of legal driving age. They use their vehicles for long and short commutes alike, even when it is more logical to walk. A majority of United States residents have been exposed to information about the carbon footprint that their oil consumption leaves behind, but still, they are too immersed in their greed to adjust their thinking. The truth is, if able bodied people cut out their vehicle use for the commutes that are under a mile, a large percentage of carbon emissions would be eradicated. Turning to electrically charged cars such as hybrids helps also, although electricity use creates carbon emissions as well, at a smaller level.
In order to reverse as much planetary damage as is possible at this point, North Americans need to achieve more of a collective consciousness when it comes to oil consumption. Biodiversity and the environment are at stake if North Americans and other countries cannot follow through with a plan to reduce their oil consumption. We need to turn to more sustainable energy sources for our daily needs, such as solar panels, vegetable oil fueled vehicles and other environmentally conscious technologies. If everyone does their part, we can bring the excessive oil consumption epidemic under control.