Thursday, June 3, 2010

You Can do More: Make it a Fuel Free Friday!

In her Sunday Statesman column, K. Williams Brown wrote about Deepwater Horizon and her home state of Louisiana.

Her cri de coeur is as impassioned as it is distressed.
my stomach is full of burning rage, and it's beginning to scald my tongue. It has a little something to do with BP and a lot to do with wrecking my home state.

One of the most distressing parts is her sense of powerlessness.
As the daughter and granddaughter of oil men, I am well aware that we need oil. I like to get in my car and go places. I like when I want, say, a Diet Coke and I get to the store and can have one because someone else has driven and delivered it to the store, no doubt using gas. Offshore drilling is the price of admission to the way we live right now.
She resolves to make BP an outcast:
But, but, but. BP, you will never, ever again get a single penny out of me. On the hottest of days in the driest of deserts, I would not purchase a cold drink at your convenience marts. If I ran out of oil in the middle of the swamp and you were the only nearby station, I would walk miles in high heels, my blisters testament to this towering and consuming anger....

BP, you are dead to me, and I think you know exactly why.
And there's great value in this - vote with your dollars. Align your values with your economic decisions.

But maybe there's more she, you, anyone can do. Change doesn't happen overnight. Oil is an amazing substance, and it's not like the the market for it will - or even should - evaporate overnight. As she points out, the movement of freight is pretty important. And, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that bicycling emergency vehicles do not need to be part of the solution. Gas-guzzling ambulances and firetrucks are not the problem!

Life. It's about life and appropriately spending scarce resources for life and living.

What we must do is make better choices about how and when we use oil. Is soda always more important than shrimp?

Right now we use oil in the most profligate of ways. We need to treat it, its extraction, its uses, and its consumption much more thoughtfully and carefully. We need to value it correctly, especially as it becomes rarer and harder to extract. (Here's a local economist's take on pricing carbon better.)

A carbon tax, which will help with that pricing, is likely at some point down the road (though later than we'd like). In the meantime think about making every Friday a Fuel-Free Day!

(Detail of Oil-soaked crab: John David Mercer, Mobile Press-Register/AP)

Ride your Bike to the Market

And although shrimp isn't as big an industry on the Oregon coast as it is in the gulf, the idea of supporting home industry remains a good one. This Saturday the bike valet service opens at the Salem Saturday Market. You don't have to worry about locking up! Attendants will keep it secure.

1 comment:

Jeff McNamee said...

Ironically, I need to drive (alone) to the Bike Summit!