Back in June (if not earlier) Sarah Palin wrote:
Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must! Or we will be even more beholden to, and controlled by, dangerous foreign regimes that supply much of our energy.
Yet there is another alternative to rapacious consumption. There is an alternative even to “alternative” sources of energy.
I am talking about consuming less. Americans in particular consume a lot of resources, and that takes a lot of energy. It’s my understanding that transporting goods (and people) is the biggest energy hog. xAmericans also have a high rate of obesity. Translation: We eat too much and don’t get enough exercise.
So imagine, just for example, if we ate a little less. Imagine if more of the food we did buy was grown in the local area. Since local food doesn’t have to be transported as far, buying local is a form of consuming less. Imagine if we got around under our own power more often, riding bicycles or even (gasp) walking. We’d get a little more exercise and be healthier while consuming less fuel.
Consuming less saves you money. It has the added benefit of making us less “beholden” to “dangerous foreign regimes that supply much of our energy.”
It annoys me when politicians (of any party) talk about energy and don’t emphasize the benefits of consuming less. It seems to me that, as a nation, we should be on a collective quest to figure out how to consume radically less energy. Imagine if we set a goal of reducing our national energy consumption by half in the next decade. I’m sure we could do it.
The pundits and politicians don’t talk about this. Instead they tell us what we want to hear, or what they think we want to hear. It’s a sad comment that in our current political climate, the message of consuming less seems almost subversive or un-American. That shouldn’t be the case.
This rant was inspired by a quote from Sarah Palin, but I want to make it clear that the failure of leadership is much broader than any single person. There is plenty of blame to go around. It would be nice to hear the “consume less” message coming from the White House, but I haven’t seen that from Brack Obama’s administration. Maybe I missed it.
But leadership can be exercised by anyone. Clearly a movement to consume less will have to come up from the grass roots.