Friday, May 6, 2011

Salt Treatment

Making Oil Boring

Salt shaker spilling onto table
~ Worried much lately about salt? James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA, observes:
When you sat down to lunch and saw a salt shaker on the table, I bet you didn't ask yourself where the salt came from. You didn't wonder whether or not we are 'salt independent.' You didn't think about it at all.
Salt has been used since ancient times to preserve food, especially meats, from rotting. Cities have been built to exploit salt resources (Liverpool) or have become global centers of trade for salt (Timbuktu). Wars have been fought over salt. It was once an incredibly important and mostly irreplaceable commodity that commanded high prices. It was like oil is today.

But that changed. Refrigeration, powered mostly by electricity, supplanted salt. It is now as strategic as parsley, and no one fights over it anymore. Says Woolsey, now a partner at Lux Capital,
Electricity did not make salt go away. It just made it boring. That should be our goal: make oil boring.
Indeed. Imagine a day that no one fights over oil, or expands blood and treasure to secure it. Exactly as we found a better and more plentiful way to preserve our food, we can find a better way to provide our energy.

And just as was true when electricity displaced salt, when we replace oil with sustainable, renewable energy, we won't want to go back.

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