In line at Starbucks this morning, watching cars stack up outside at the drive-thru, I realized that I and each and every one of us is responsible for the oil spill that is now tragically ashore in the Gulf of Mexico, just as each and every one of us was responsible for the devastation in Alaska from the Valdez spill.
We each use too much oil in our lives and we are each willing to spend more and more on oil, meaning that we drive the profits and the plans of the large oil companies. It is our consumption, our willingness to pay that drives oil companies to explore the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, spend hundreds of millions of dollars on rigs, because they know we will buy their product.
Remember when gasoline went over a dollar a gallon a few years ago? Local news stations around the country actually carried stories about it, people were outraged, they kept buying and buying when it hit two dollars, spiked above three dollars and they are still paying today - $2.75 a gallon here in North Carolina on this last day of April.
How many of us take public transportation? Car pool? Make sure we recycle all our plastic - petroleum products are needed not only to create many plastics but are actually are in the plastic itself - I am pretty good on recycling but I could be better.
How many of us have actually taken the time to write or email or call a Senator in support of clean energy? It is a self evident point but solar panels don't leak and destroy their environment. Wind turbines have never been known to ruin coastal hatcheries. There is opposition to the recently approved wind turbine project off of Cape Cod which I understand, but really, wouldn't you rather sail around a wind turbine than through an oil slick?
It's our greed for oil and our unwillingness to support the radical changes that must happen in our society to move forward in a stronger, smarter energy way. David Brooks wrote in the New York Times today about the complete failure of Washington to act.
This is his last paragraph.
You get the sense that this country is straining against the leash, eager for a new wave of energy development. There will be excess, stupidity and greed along the way. But it would be simply amazing if, through some set of narrow political gamesmanship, Washington continued to stand in the way of all this.
He's right. We need to demand action from our elected officials not photo ops on the Louisiana Coast. At some point I am sure President Obama will fly down and see the damage for himself. But the damage is not where he is visiting, the real damage is in Washington.
I am represented by two Senators, one of whom John Kerry is leading the fight on this issue. The other, Scott Brown, seems to have forgotten his integrity on this issue when he won his special election.
The time has come to draw a line in the sand.
Do not vote for, support, or donate to any official who won't act on clean energy and for our future.
Support those that do.
And look in the mirror and make sure that you are doing all you can as well.
It's up to each of us to prevent oil spills. And we can do it.