Thursday, May 6, 2010

Demands and Petitions: Is this all we have?

The recent oil spill in the Gulf is awful. The impact of this environmental catastrophe is still to be told, but no doubt it is going to have a lasting effect on all of us. For this, my heart aches. I hate to see the wildlife that suffers so much because of our complacency, greed, and desires for comforts. I can't help but think during these times that we really seem to give little thought for the future generations, despite all the signs and opportunities to learn.

At the same time, I am pretty disgusted with the internet campaigns that are spreading from environmental and environmentally-minded groups right now. Take Their mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet. So what is their message regarding this oil spill? It's "a moment when we can help the US and its leaders understand the depth of their addiction to fossil fuel, and the real need to get off dirty energy now." What are their action steps? Sign a petition demanding clean energy now and no more drilling, join a facebook group, donate money, and then click through about how to build momentum in your community. Now look at They want you to print up a sign that says "No More Drilling/Clean Energy Now" - with the 1Sky logo on it; take it to the local BP station and protest them, demanding that BP be held responsible, take a picture of yourself, and send the picture to 1Sky.

Is this the best we can do? When talks about "their" addiction to fossil fuels, don't they really mean "our" addiction? When it comes to demands for energy, how about raising a stink among ourselves that we consume less? That we commit to driving less, and significantly changing our daily habits? That we stop using so many plastic bottles? (To see the impact of plastic water bottles, see If all we can do is make demands and shame people for "their" addictions, it's a bit hypocritical, I think. All that is going on is really a reflection of all of us, and until we decide to stop being victims to it and take proactive action in our daily lives, I suspect very little will change.


Micah Bales said...

I think you're right, Brad. I wonder how William Penn House might provide positive leadership in this area.

Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...

It sure would be nice if we could abandon our concern about the behavior of others, and simply focus on our own driving habits. Unfortunately, though, that will not be enough.

If all the Friends and Quakers in the United States stop driving altogether, it will reduce the amount of gas that the U.S. as a whole consumes by only one one-hundredth of one per cent — far less than enough to have any effect on U.S. eagerness to drill offshore for oil.

And Friends and Quakers cannot stop driving altogether — not so long as the U.S. continues to lack decent public transportation.