If there’s one thing I’m not capable of anymore it’s denial. I can’t stand idly by and watch our entire future be thrown away by our would-be corporate overlords and an apathetic government who would rather do nothing of substance. This is a potential turning point for the better, that is if we can wake up and start reducing our demand for oil.
End dysfunctional overconsumption
We all rely entirely too much on petroleum in the US. Here’s a shocking statistic to back up my belief: the US accounts for only 4% of the world’s population, yet we manage to use 25% of the world’s oil, and most of it is used incredibly inefficiently. Adding to that oil is becoming harder to obtain safely. Why else would we allow the deepest (and most unsafe) rig and oil well in the world right off our shores? Our country is literally choking on its excess.
Most oil usage goes toward industrial production, plastics, animal agriculture and transportation. Reducing consumption is as easy as living within one’s means and putting effort into using energy sensibly.
We all have a part to play
It all starts with only buying what we can afford with money we have now. Important steps towards sustainability also include reducing (or eliminating) oil intensive foods such as meat, egg and dairy intake and not buying plastics whenever possible.
Equal emphasis should be put on buying locally from small businesses, rather than supporting large corporations and trying to reduce the amount of driving, flying or other methods of inefficient commuting when possible. All of these changes, if broadly adopted, would reduce oil consumption by double digit percentages.
We don’t have to stop there, though. Consider telling your representatives to stop the seemingly limitless subsidies that help bankroll the oil industry and their lobbyists. There’s no reason to give handouts to the wealthiest companies on the planet when families are losing their jobs and homes.
Focus on the future
Everyone should try to care more about tomorrow for ourselves and the next generations. It’s time to focus our attention on the safety of products and the environmental stewardship by their manufacturers. There needs to be a renewed focus on cleaner sources of energy and more efficient energy distribution. A carbon tax is hardly a step in the right direction, because we need to take responsibility for our own actions and not give up more of our money and freedoms for a flawed cap and trade system.
America no longer has the luxury of ignoring the truth. There’s a limited window of opportunity to move forward, instead of stagnating in this unsustainable materialistic and illusory existence. The BP disaster and the financial implosion should both serve as prime examples of the folly of our ways.
You have the power
We, the citizens (and consumers), must be the force to drive this change, because as we have clearly witnessed that the private sector and the government are not concerned or motivated. It is our money and hard work that powers this machine, so shouldn’t we have more control? Shouldn’t we demand a sustainable future, both in the economic and environmental senses of the word?