Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Oil Spill is My Fault

I bet you probably ride your horse to the grocery store, or maybe bike, or perhaps walk.  I bet you do this for work, too.  I too, in fact, walk to work and my wife commutes from the kitchen to her home office.  However, it is my car that gets me to the store and back. Even though I have a CSA share, the bananas I put on my kashi this morning definitely weren't grown in the Commonwealth. Also it carries us to children's after-school activities (of which there are many).  In fact, on the weekends we like to get out of town (car again) and up until recently I was studying for my doctorate in Chicago (car and plane!). 

My house isn't illuminated by candles and it isn't heated by them either.  No, some sort of petroleum product comes in from the street and makes my furnace go "whoosh" when it is in a whooshing mood.  When it isn't, there are the good, old, electric space heaters.  This is helpful, since our internal temperature in the winter is usually determined by the prevailing winds.  My fridge seems to be powered by something.  So too is my gas-stove.  I like my TV and computer and did I say that I drive a car?  Often?

Fact of the matter is, my whole neighborhood is petroleum-based.  Without it we wouldn't be able to live the way we do.  Even if we take the train to the city we have to drive to it first.  Without oil our lawns wouldn't be nearly as well-sculpted and our social lives would be much less interesting.  Our range would shrink and we would need to be friends with each other because we would be all there was to see.  Sounds quaint at first, but...really?  Burbania 24/7?

Again, those of you who go by horse and carriage are probably fine, so don't think I am talking about you.  I am talking about me.  BP is sorry.  Well that's nice.  The other oil companies say that they would never do such things.  Um...OK.  The President wants a new energy policy.  Good for him!  But part of this mess is mine.  What about my new energy policy?  What can I do, wretched man that I am?  Ultimately for the species to survive, lifestyles have to change.  That means mine, too.

It appears that there is in my person another law at war with the law of my mind.  Yes, Paul said that (more or less).  It's in Romans.  Observant guy, no?  Some of us ignore how our behavior affects the world.  Some of us worry about it.  Either way, something needs to be done.  This is a situation I would like to see discussed more than it is.  I need guidance. When I sit down in my car and debate turning on the air conditioner I am faced with the stark fact that I am a coward and need help to make the sort of change I believe in.  Will a new energy policy help us to dig out of cultural and economic norms more than a century in the making?

Who can provide some leadership on this?

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