Sunday, June 26, 2011

Obama's Oil Withdrawal

Ladies and gentlemen, I get it: the economy is in rough shape. You know things are bad when a man robs a bank for $1 so he can get healthcare in jail. The economic situation seems to be why President Obama has decided to unleash some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supply and drive down gasoline prices.

Apparently we only do stimulus packages that are bad for the environment now. I've got to tell you that when I heard the news I was depressed. That fact that this is happening is a testament to how vehicle-dependent our economy is. I also have to admit to another feeling that I'm not as proud of: resignation.

You see, as someone who is struggling with my own economy-related issues, I understand that people who can't meet basic needs will sacrifice the environment in an attempt to stimulate the economy, even though it is unsustainable and hence against our long-term interests.

Yet, my resignation is joined to a sense that Obama's gesture is ultimately futile. Whatever reduction in gasoline prices that may be achieved by this will be temporary, and nothing will be done to address the root of the problem: our dependence on an expensive, non-renewable, polluting source of transportation energy. The smart money is still on finding ways to reduce your gasoline consumption.

And now for the uplifting part: there are so many ways to use less gasoline. Walk somewhere, telecommute, ride a bike, take the bus, move closer to the stuff you do, buy a more efficient car, buy local, take a vacation close to home instead of far away, inflate your tires to the proper pressure, carpool, get the junk out of your trunk, SPEAK UP FOR PUBLIC POLICIES THAT PUT US ON A BETTER PATH. You might not be able or willing to do all of those things, but everyone can do at least one of them.

Odds are you'll be helping your pocketbook and the environment at the same time, and that's the kind of thinking we need to get back on our feet economically while leaving something to the next generation.

First comes addiction, then comes withdrawal, then comes recovery.

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