I have a political science background and many times people tend to think I have a strong opinion on everything or am up to date on the latest oil spill development, renewable energy legislation, etc. Instead of giving in to the pressure to read new developments each day, I choose to give in to the fact that just being angry or having an opinion against my government isn’t going to do me much good. In fact, I chose to complement my political science degree with a second journalism major and this has taught me that what I read in the news isn’t necessarily what I need to know or what I should know. (In fact, this blogger has an interesting point on the tendency of the media to point fingers without taking any responsibility)
For example, the news wants to deliver the ugly fighting and bickering between our federal government and BP on the recent oil spill. In response, we’re angry that Obama isn’t doing enough, that big oil isn’t regulated, that no one is taking full responsibility or acting quick enough for the sake of our environment. I’m sorry to say but I have faith that our government really does care about the environment and wants to fix the solution. We are seeing an extreme tragedy occuring in terms of our environment but THINGS ARE MUCH MORE COMPLEX than we think, but at the same time, our response, as citizens of this country, needs to be so simple. In the time we spend denouncing our government and demanding results, we can start producing our own.
I recently read a book about Mister Rogers where he describes the difference between an accuser and an advocate. While an accuser sits around and discusses the injustices of the world, an advocate does something about it. I think he’s on to something. And so is this man, Doug Fine, the carbon neutral cowboy who decided to decrease his need for petroleum by dramatically changing his living habits. I know that most of us are a long cry away from raising our own goats to make our own ice cream and powering our diesel truck with vegetable oil, but we can realize that the power of big oil companies originates in our demand for it.
So while others continue to bicker and political decisions progress slowly in the wake of upcoming elections, I think it’s time we become the advocate. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Why don’t you explore it with your bike, or research the products that use petroleum?(there is no way we’ll completely be free, there are so many products, but we can make significant decreases) Think of the real cost involved in the products you buy and the costs that taxpayers incur costs from a $6 billion per day clean up.
If I have any disappointment in our leadership, its their failure to stimulate a movement of change as a result of disaster (if you click on any of these hyperlinks, make sure its this Op-ed in the New York Times). With a captive audience and all eyes on oil, it’s time to look at that oily reflective gulf surface and find change within ourselves instead of waiting for it to come from Capitol Hill.