For those of you who don't follow the news, an off-shore oil drilling rig in the Gulf of México exploded and sank on April 20th, 2010 killing 11 crew members and causing a massive oil leak which has been ongoing ever since, causing horrific damage to the environment and the livelihoods of people in the Gulf Coast states. It's day 37, and there's no end in sight, unless you're very optimistic about the latest scheme to plug the holes.
Over on NPR I've been trying to make the point that we should use less oil in response to this and I've had a bunch of ideas, which I call "how to use less oil rants". I wrote so many, I started to number them after a while. Here the numbered ones are, either in full or summarized:
11) Write your city council person and demand that 5% of the parking spaces in your city be converted to bicycle racks.
12) If you're buying a car, check out fueleconomy.gov (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm) for info on the most efficient cars, trucks, and SUVs in every category, all tested by the EPA using consistent methods.
13) Instead of driving to the gym, walk to the store.
14) Make sure your tires are properly inflated and take unused items out of your trunk.
15) Live in a neighborhood where destinations like grocery stores are within easy walking distance.
16) If you know someone in the army of lawyers who will be litigating these cases, encourage them to carpool. The litigation itself will probably use a ton of oil.
17) Employers should not buy parking places for their employees. Instead, they should use the money they spend on parking to pay extra cash to employees. When other people pay for parking, people drive more.
18) Pass a modest carbon tax and index it to inflation. This would give people an incentive to conserve while raising money to subsidize alternatives to gasoline-powered transportation.
19) Don't unveil an energy bill that includes expanded oil drilling . . .
20) Try your best to live close to the stuff you do.
21) Plastic is made from oil, so use less plastic. Buy a cloth bag to bring to the store, and avoid products with excessive packaging. Try a water filter instead of bottled water.
22) Gasoline powered leaf blowers, meet your eco-friendly replacement, the rake.
23) Try to buy locally-grown food, since shipping food long distances uses lots of oil. If you've got some extra balcony, (flat) roof, or yard space, you could also try to grow some of your own crops!
24) Modern warfare uses lots of oil for the planes, helicopters, Hummers that drop the bombs and ship the soldiers and supplies around. So, to use less oil we should end the wars!
25) Support telecommuting and high-speed rail as alternatives to flying.
26) Oil companies have lobbyists and the environment needs lobbyists too. That means writing letters, making calls, and donating to an environmental group that is pushing for clean, renewable energy (e.g. Greenpeace, NRDC, Sierra Club, etc.)
27) If you use heating oil over the chilly months, turn your thermostat down and put on an extra layer.
28) Require all cars to at least have stop-start hybrid technology. This is the most basic component of hybrid tech, which makes it so the car doesn't use gasoline while idling. This would add to the cost of a car but pay for itself in saved gas, while reducing oil use and pollution.
Seems kind of crazy NOT to do it.
29) Believe that you can. That's the first step. Next time somebody says we need oil tell them they've underestimated the power and determination of a growing group of disgruntled, passionate and pissed off people!
30) I don't think boycotting a single oil company accomplishes anything. But permanently boycotting all oil companies or using less oil accomplishes a lot.
They all drill. Their products all cause air pollution. Their products all cause climate change. USE LESS OIL IN GENERAL.