Across the globe, protests against the rising cost of fuel have exploded in the past few days. Spanish truckers are now in their third day of protests with one picketer dead and fires breaking out amidst chaos. Another was killed in a protest in Lisbon. Because the transporting of goods has been frozen in Spain, people are stocking up on food and essential supplies in fear of shortages.
Food business owners are frustrated that they can’t serve their regular menus and local shoppers are taking home as much as they can. French and Polish truckers are also protesting. Lines to fill up on gas are hours long. Drivers in Hong Kong are burning tires and others in India, Thailand, South Korea and Nepal are joining their voices in demand for lower fuel costs. Even fishermen in France and Italy have been on strike.
It is clear that something must change. Will governments subsidize the cost? Will peak oil begin to force more sustainable changes in our system? It is quite clear from the fear manifesting in Spanish grocery store aisles and on the streets that we have a long way to go toward living locally. Here in the U.S., while San Francisco moves towards renewable energy in light of rising fuel costs, Tuesday the Senate blocked proposed tax incentives for green innovation. Only time will tell what unfolds from the worldwide struggle to separate from fossil fuel, a partner we are passionately dependent on.