Happy Earth Day!
I feel prompted by a couple things to write a short Earth Day message today. First, this old e-mail that has resurfaced (I received it three times this week) that suggests boycotting a gas company to make all of the companies lower their prices and second the thought that as I drive, I’m using up the last of this resource and that when my nephews and niece are old enough to drive, a) gas prices will be exorbitant and b) there might not be much left due to world population growth (about 75 million people a year) (and yes, they all want cars, too :)
OK – so, on the boycott part – high gas prices are a good thing in my mind. I’m not especially happy about oil companies and their shareholders making huge profits, but one result of having high gas prices is that it encourages us to consume less. Those who can, will figure out other ways to get around, combine trips, carpool more, or just drive less. I see $2.80 a gallon and I know it changes my behavior. And, oil and gasoline are heavily subsidized already – if we actually had to pay the real cost for these products and the infrastructure that goes with them (highways)(Iraq war), we’d never be driving anywhere and trains would come back en force. My guess is that we’ll see this more as we have to share resources with the other nations in the sandbox.
So, I thought I’d list some actions that actually make sense to me that don’t get talked about enough – ways to conserve gas and thus spend less :)
1. Drive less – I know it sounds simple, but taking one less trip per week makes a big difference if we all do it – both in terms of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and to our wallets. Along with this goes carpooling. In the Portland area one way to arrange carpools is carpoolmatchnw.org - for longer trips anywhere in the country, there are numerous on-line ride-boards and Craigslist is a great way to hook up with a ride just about anywhere in North America.
2. Car maintenance – inflate your tires – why this isn’t the headline on every newspaper in the country, I don’t know – turns out, it’s a key way to save gas. Keeping the car maintained – oil changes, brakes checked, all good things, too.
3. Accelerate slowly, uses less gas, causes you to brake less, saves brakes... Also, driving slower saves gas – go the speed limit, hey – go slower :)
4. I just googled this topic and the first site that came up is just about what I wrote above, and probably has lots more good info (including choosing a higher-mileage car :)
Instead of boycotting one gas company or another (I do believe in choosing the least nasty one in terms of their human rights abuses, it was 76 the last time I looked) I recommend the steps above as ways to bring your, our consumption of gasoline down. Feel free to forward this on and embellish it as you wish.
There are Earth Day events going on all over the country this weekend, here’s a way to find the one in your neck of the woods - Earth Day Portland is April 22nd in Sellwood Park: http://www.cityrepair.org/wiki.php/projects/earthday I find attending Earth Day a great way to learn new things, see friendly faces, make local connections, eat something tasty and feel support for the activism I do in the world.
Earth Day is Every Day! Have a great one!!!