Why I Love Living in “Gasland”

Have you ever noticed that there are some activities in life that, when you do them, you never regret?

Once in a while, I like making a list of these and making sure I incorporate more of them into my life–taking walks, going to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, planning my days the evening before, spending time with my friends’ children, etc.

For years, though, there has been one activity I’ve never successfully added to my routine, even though every time I do it I feel relaxed, renewed, and energized: going swimming at one of our beaches in Southern California. There is something about the cold water, the air, and the vast ocean that is unmatched. I wish, I have long said, I lived right by the beach; then I would go every day. But most of us in Orange County aren’t prepared to spend the prodigious sums of money it costs to live at a beach house; I live 10 miles inland from the beach.

But this past weekend, when taking a friend of mine to the beach, I had a realization: thanks to modern energy technology, I do live right next to the beach. I live over 10 miles away, but I can make the trip in 15 minutes at very little cost thanks to that easily-unappreciated wonder that is the gasoline automobile. That’s the equivalent of living a mile away walking by foot. If I wasn’t allowed to use the cheap, plentiful, reliable energy source of my choice–or if I were forced to use “public transportation” on someone else’s timetable–I couldn’t make the trip.

This morning I added the beach to my morning routine–and to say the least, I didn’t regret it. As usual, I found the ocean to be my favorite place to relax and think.

As I drove home, it occurred to me that my morning pursuit of happiness and the gasoline it involves are routinely insulted as “gas-guzzling,” “waste,” and “materialism.” Maybe the people who say that are confessing that they themselves do not take full advantage of the unlimited opportunity that gasoline energy gives us. Because energy is opportunity, the opportunity to do whatever it is you love more frequently, more conveniently, more affordably, more happily.

And it’s an opportunity that many are eager to take away. Part of my week is going to involve countering Gasland 2, filmmaker Josh Fox’s sequel to Gasland, his call to ban “fracking”–the revolutionary oil-and-natural-gas technology that has been making not only gasoline, but also electricity cheaper and more plentiful. Most critics of Gasland focus on the numerous misrepresentations and outright lies in the movie–and there are an astonishing number, enough to make a compelling case that Fox is a pathological liar; see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

But what’s missing from the discussion of Gasland is a passion for the positive that he’s attacking. America is “Gasland” in that we are a land of energy and opportunity, and anyone who proposes to ban our key technologies should be viewed as attacking our ability to live and love life.

That’s why I started I Love Fossil Fuels. It’s time to realize that the things we need to live and the things we live to love are made possible by the industry we’re told to hate.

I love the beach. I love fossil fuels.

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