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The Republican Who Dared Tell the Truth About America's Looming Oil Disaster

Matt Simmons didn't let the money, bullshit or arrogance surrounding the oil industry cloud his judgment.

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Simmons, a hopeful man with five daughters, always talked about solutions. He felt that governments needed to keep the price of oil high in order to spur an energy transition and conserve a precious resource. He recognized that North Americans would have to consume less; lose weight and give up many of their oil-based energy slaves. Transportation by rail and boat made more energy sense than trucks, he said. Growing food locally was a must. He also called an economic globalization model based on cheap oil deeply "flawed."

C. S. Lewis, the Christian philosopher, once warned that people who sought comfort as opposed to the truth would only find soft soap, wishful thinking, "and in the end, despair."

I'll miss Simmons because he didn't peddle soap, eschewed wishful thinking and always looked for the truth. He knew there was no comfort without it. Even in the oil patch.

Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee's first writer in residence, is the author of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent . It won the 2009 Rachel Carson Book Award.

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