07/28/2010 04:58 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

On Energy Policy, it's Time to Channel the Tea Party

We observed a somber anniversary this Wednesday: 100 days since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing a dozen workers and setting off one of our nation's most catastrophic natural disasters.

As most cable news outlets have dubbed it, we've just endured "100 days with oil."

Well, that's just inaccurate. The sad truth is that we live with oil and the effects of a fossil fuel-based energy economy every day. We pay the price with pollution, global warming, international conflicts, skyrocketing energy costs, depleted public health and ravaged natural resources. And that's before any oil actually spills. It's too bad we only hear about these things in the news after a major environmental disaster. We should be talking about them every day!

What's sadder is that, within these 100 days since the BP oil spill began, the government has failed to do anything about our nation's crippling reliance on dirty fossil fuels. Last week, Senate Democrats abandoned efforts to pass landmark climate change legislation, saying they just didn't have enough votes to make it work. Meanwhile, a judge overturned President Obama's offshore drilling moratorium. And Obama himself continues to disregard the need for a national outreach campaign that would help the American people adopt to his vision of a clean energy economy.

At the risk of channeling my inner Tea Partier, I'm glad this is America we're talking about. When our elected leaders aren't getting the job done, we take matters into our hands.

And Americans are taking things into their own hands. Thousands of them have already joined, my organization's new online Gulf relief campaign. Instead of simply wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth, these folks have pledged to reduce the amount of oil they use in their everyday lives. Together, they have already offset over 18,000 gallons of oil from the BP spill.

18,000 gallons might not seem like a lot. But I think it speaks volumes about America's frustration with BP, the government, and our reliance on fossil fuels. And that number is growing by the hour!

No matter when the oil actually stops leaking, the road to recovery in the Gulf will be long and hard. That's why now, more than ever, is the time for you, your family and your friends to join and contribute oil offsets of your own. We tally the gallons conserved on the homepage, by the hour, and can't think of a better message to send to our elected leaders about how we're taking matters into our own hands. If the government won't help -- and if we do nothing -- who will?

Better yet, I'm going to propose a challenge of my own. Why not commemorate our one-hundredth day with oil by pledging to spend the next 100 days with less oil? Think of the message we could send to President Obama and Capitol Hill! Not to mention the residents of the Gulf, who need our genuine, lasting support now more than ever.