Oil or Water ... The Only Answer Is Less Consumption

06/26/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While I too have felt the impact by the rising price of oil, I am at least lucky enough to have the economic resources to cope. Yes, we're driving less; using less air conditioning; recycling and re-using whatever we can, etc. So, we're doing our part -- or at least we're doing something -- as a family. But, the reality is, it'll never be enough unless we ALL do it -- and we start NOW. Today. This minute.

I know I am blessed to have what I do and I know the hardships will be greater for most Americans. But, we all simply have to find ways to do our part. And yes that means my family too should do even more since we have more. And there's simply no time to waste.

What we're going through now is nothing compared to what lies just around the corner. Living with high priced oil is tough, but it's nothing compared to trying to live without accessible clean water! (Which, by the way, millions and millions of people do). Economic hardship is painful. I'm not trying to underplay it here. I'm just trying to point out that survival is even tougher -- and thankfully most Americans are lucky enough not to be dealing with that each day.

If you think the wars over oil have been fierce, just wait till you see the wars over water -- that is unless we wake up and take action. We can't live without it and there simply won't be enough of it. Sure, we have some technology options but for various reasons they aren't as yet able to meet the world's needs.

Can't we see that all of these things are tied together? We as a nation (and all developed nations for that matter) are just over-consuming. Period. And suggesting that the way out of our economic troubles is to jump start further consumption is crazy if you look at the big picture over the longer term. (Here I feel I need to stress I am not an economist. Merely a mom concerned about her 4 year old having clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.)

If there is a lesson we can take from once dominant US industries it is that we have to find new models for economic growth. We have to learn to do more with less. We have to eliminate waste. If we don't, we can't point the finger down the road and say it's unfair other countries are beating us. If they win, it'll be fair and square and our collective fault for not taking action when we had the chance. Even as an internationalist at heart, I want to see America strong and proud and productively engaged in the world for centuries to come. How about you? And, are you willing to do things differently to make it happen? Are you willing to start today?