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Walking Away From Oil Dependence, One Day at a Time

tony_hayward_440_399x296.jpgBP's Tony Hayward admits
he has a problem with oil. (Photo: via BullsOil.com)

Today,
even the CEO of BP used the words "environmental
catastrophe
" to characterize what's happening in the Gulf of
Mexico.

Admitting you have a problem is, of course, the beginning of the
road to recovery in the 12-step tradition of overcoming addiction. We're
happy that BP's Tony Hayward has taken that first step -- congrats,
Tony!

But the magnitude of this particular catastrophe is paralyzing for
many of the rest of us -- including those who have known for a long time
that our addiction to fossil fuels is an ongoing catastrophe. 

Streetsblog Network member blog Straight
Outta Suburbia/Saliendo de las Afueras
(our only bilingual blog) is
determined to get beyond paralysis. Today, it has a list of actions
that people and governments could take to reduce their own consumption
of oil. Here are a few:

  • Write your city council person and demand that 5 percent of
    the parking spaces in your city be converted to bicycle racks.
  • Instead of driving to the gym, walk to the store.
  • Employers should not buy parking places for their employees.
    Instead, they should use the money they spend on parking to pay extra
    cash to employees. When other people pay for parking, people drive more.
  • Gasoline-powered leaf blowers, meet your eco-friendly
    replacement, the rake.
  • Pass a modest carbon tax and index it to inflation. This would
    give people an incentive to conserve while raising money to subsidize
    alternatives to gasoline-powered transportation.
  • Believe that you can. That's the first step. Next time
    somebody says we need oil, tell them they've underestimated the power
    and determination of a growing group of disgruntled, passionate and
    pissed-off people!

Will actions like these fix the problem of dependence on oil? No.
Are they naive and idealistic? Maybe. But can they be part of a paradigm
shift that would lead to real, long-term solutions? Possibly,
especially that part about the carbon tax.

One thing is for sure: Failing to do anything is what's known in
the addiction-recovery community as classic denial.

More from around the network: Greater
Greater Washington
reports a victory for transit -- and social
media. The
Transport Politic
discusses the importance of imagining a
multimodal future. And WalkBikeJersey
sadly notes that New Jersey drivers place last in a recent insurance
industry survey that tested motorists on their knowledge of rules of the
road. Not that people in the rest of the country did
so great
either.

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