> The gas (petrol) lines and unemployment that resulted from the formation
> of OPEC and energy embargoes to the US?
Yes, I remember that along with walking to school in the dark (because
of power cuts when the coal miners decided to hold the country to ransom),
bringing wooden crates home to burn (to eke out the little coal we had)
and the introduction of natural gas from the North Sea for domestic use
(rather than the horrible smelly "town gas" / "coal gas").
I had little interest in the US at that point but my brothers (all much
older than me) explained about Vietnam and - even then - the international
intrigues dedicated to securing foreign oil supplies.
I was fairly unusual in my area at that time as I was very anti-coal.
I hated the ash. I hated the smoke. I hated the acid rain - shocked my
mum when I showed her how acidic the water was in our rain-wated butt.
The coal-miners and their dependent industries were a huge part of the
community though so it was always a "point of contention" when raised.
I was studying mainly science subjects and so could see the benefits of
nuclear power over coal, oil & gas but even then my favourite was hydro
(a visit to a major hydroelectic plant in Wales had a great effect on me).
I was fascinated to follow the development of the Dinorwig pumped station
(visited it much later - only completed in the mid-80s) and I wondered why
that type of "mega-battery" wasn't more popular. It was many years later
before I understood the economic aspects of such projects. It was much
later still before I gave up on hoping that the technological superiority
of the nuclear solution would ever surpass the innate greed, corruption
and stupidity of the humans in charge of its use.
Solar then was simply a novelty (unless you were in the space programme).
My earliest experience with that technology was saving up to buy a small
solar cell (selenium IIRC) from Tandy (=Radio Shack) that I wanted to replace
the battery in a small fan in my room. I knew that it would only work when
it was sunny but that was the only time that I wanted it to work anyway.
In practice, it wasn't that useful but I was still taken with the idea of
"turning sunlight into electricity".
Whilst I thought that Carter's solar panels on the White House were largely
a symbolic act, I was sad when Reagan removed them as that too was a symbolic
act but whilst the symbolism for the former was concerned with hope & potential,
that for the latter was most definitely a declaration of the control & power
of established industrial might over the alternatives to "the system".
Wind was good though (in the right places, even then) as it still powered
important rural items directly - little of the wasteful "conversion from
mechanical to electrical then transmission losses then conversion from
electrical to mechanical" cycle. Mind you, I lived in a large industrial
town then so days without wind were "good" as it stopped all of the crap
in the air from being blown in your face all of the time.
So yes, I remember being an energy consumer in the 70s and seeing the choices
that we had then. The choices that we have today are infinitely better (where
"goodness" is viewed from an ecological point of view, not simple monetary cost)
but we still have the same greedy, corrupt, short-termist, selfish humans
in charge (and, in large, in the population willingly voting for the death-knell
of so many species).