The Upside to a Petroleum-less Nigerian Society
The removal of fuel subsidies in Nigeria and the ensuing economic challenges have been subjects of widespread concern. The significant increase in transportation costs due to subsidy removal has left many Nigerians worried about their daily expenses. I, for once, have restricted my vehicular movement to only important journeys. In response to these challenges, I often suggest a rather unconventional solution – a return to the pre-automobile era when our forefathers relied on alternative modes of transportation such as hiking, horseback riding, camel journeys, and donkey carts.
At first glance, this idea may appear whimsical or even absurd to some. However, deep within me, there is a genuine longing for a return to that bygone era. An era free from the noise and pollution generated by modern vehicles, an era where families do not have to mourn the tragic loss of loved ones in auto accidents. Perhaps my posture is the fact that I'm a trained ecologist.
In a petroleum-less society, we would witness a remarkable shift in our way of life. The absence of automobiles would compel us to embrace healthier and more sustainable modes of transport. Walking or cycling could become the norm, promoting physical fitness and reducing air pollution. Reintroducing animal-powered transportation, such as horses, camels, and donkeys, could not only be an eco-friendly alternative but also a source of livelihood for some.
Moreover, a society less dependent on petroleum would be forced to explore alternative sources of energy, thus accelerating innovation in renewable energy technologies. This shift could lead to advancements in solar, wind, and biofuel technologies, reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.
The problems with a petroleum-backed society are evident. First and foremost is the environmental damage caused by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Climate change, air pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats are pressing issues linked to our heavy reliance on petroleum. Additionally, the volatility of oil prices in the global market can have adverse effects on a nation's economy, as seen in the case of Nigeria during periods of fluctuating oil prices.
Furthermore, a petroleum-dependent society often leads to wealth inequality and corruption, as revenues from oil can be misappropriated or not evenly distributed among the population. The continuous need for petroleum can also make a nation vulnerable to geopolitical conflicts and supply disruptions.
Using alternate transport means, such as animal-powered or human-powered methods, could pose several disadvantages. These include limited speed, reduced payload capacity, reliability concerns, maintenance costs, infrastructure challenges, weather sensitivity, and safety issues.
On one hand, alternate transport modes often lack the speed and efficiency of motorized vehicles, making them less suitable for long distances or tight schedules. They typically have lower carrying capacities, which can be limiting for transporting goods or large groups of people. Reliability can be an issue, as animals may tire, fall ill, or refuse to work, causing disruptions. Maintenance costs, including animal care and infrastructure modifications, can be significant.
On another hand, weather conditions can affect alternate transport more profoundly, and safety concerns are more prevalent, especially for activities like horseback riding or cycling. Limited accessibility for individuals with disabilities can also be a drawback. Resistance to change and ethical considerations regarding animal welfare can hinder adoption.
Furthermore, the transition to alternate transport means may impact industries related to motorized vehicles, potentially leading to job losses and economic disruptions.
Using horses, camels, and donkeys for transportation could, however, be sustainable. These animals produce minimal emissions and can be fed locally, reducing the need for fossil fuels. Their utilization could create opportunities for rural communities, as caretakers and traders for these animals would be in demand. Furthermore, animal-powered transportation has been a part of human history for centuries and could be seamlessly integrated into our modern lives with the right infrastructure and planning.
While the notion of a petroleum-less society may seem utopian, it is worth contemplating the positive changes it could bring. Although the transition would be challenging, the potential benefits, including improved health, reduced environmental impact, and technological progress, are enticing prospects for Nigeria and the world at large.
Too Long, Didn't Read?
The problems associated with a petroleum-backed society are multifaceted, including environmental degradation, economic vulnerability, and social inequality. The removal of fuel subsidies has sparked discussions about the future of transportation in Nigeria. While returning to a petroleum-less society may seem like a distant dream and laced with certain problems, it is essential to consider the potential upsides. Embracing alternative modes of transport, including animal-powered options like horses, camels, and donkeys, and exploring renewable energy sources could lead to a healthier, more sustainable, and innovative future for all.
Thus, instead of spending the whole day lamenting about the economy and daydreaming about the subsidy era being back, we should rather face reality and seek practical solutions that could sustain us in the long run. The day we do, I'm certain alternate modes of transportation will be rigorously discussed.
Or, what do you think?