Addiction seems to permeate our culture. It comes in many forms and varieties — some are very personal, and some are more societal.
I had a friend who suffered from alcoholism a few years ago. He "needed" alcohol to feel whole. He was not "himself" without alcohol.
He was in denial about his addiction and its deleterious effects. It made him feel good and there were serious consequences if he stopped his consumption.
My friend refused to acknowledge that he had a problem. He pushed away and ignored those who tried to counsel him about the dangers. He dismissed their concern and demonized any criticism of his continued reliance.
Once my friend had pushed away all those who were concerned, he fell further down the rabbit hole. His main concern became about how to procure alcohol at the cheapest possible price – continuing to pay for his addiction was becoming a pragmatic problem. He searched for more cost-effective ways to get his fix.
Despite the concerns of his loved ones and those trying to help him address his addiction, he ultimately died due to complications.
In a similar vein, our society is currently addicted to fossil fuels. We are dependent on fossil fuels (gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal) to feel whole.
Everything we do has fossil fuels embedded in how those things function. It is very hard to imagine how we could possibly feel good without them – even though there are clearly dire consequences for our continued reliance on them. There is "climate denial," dismissal of concerns raised about our addiction, and the marginalizing of those voices who are raising alarm.
There is pressure from the general population and our politicians to keep the prices as low as possible for fossil fuels so that we can address the short-term pragmatic problem of maintaining our addiction.
My hope is that we, as a loving and caring community, can come to grips with our addiction and avoid the fate of my friend. Our reliance on fossil fuels certainly allows us to feel good, and there are pressures to continue to find ways to make our addiction more affordable. But the long-term consequences of this addiction are predictable and dire.
We can either address those concerns in the short term or face a future that is very bleak indeed.