Tuesday, May 13, 2008

THE PRICE OF FUEL & LIFESTYLE CHANGES
I'll do my part, but will government and the energy industry do their part?

HITTING HOME. The price of fuel is really hitting our family budget. I can only imagine the stress it's causing in households across this country, not to mention it's impact on food prices around the world. We haven't been in this particular situation in a generation, I'm told. This thing isn't temporary and it's calling for some real changes at several levels.

TWO LEVELS OF RESPONSE NEEDED. It seems like two things are being called for: First: immediate personal lifestyle and mobility changes that ease the impact of the spiraling price of oil/fuel on our wallets. Second: a viable long-term strategy to stabilize oil prices, develop valid non-food-based alternative energies, and reward efficiency and conservation strategies.

CONSERVING AT HOME. Our family is moving beyond shock and awe (along with complaining and anger) to some lifestyle and mobility changes. Personally, I am commuting to work on my bicycle two days a week. We're consolidating drives when possible. I do as much work as possible electronically. We're also considering selling our little ski boat, usually a source of Saturday family fun in the summer. I'm not sure we can afford to maintain and operate it any longer. So far, we haven't either licensed it or put it on the market, but we're having that discussion.

WHAT "THEY" CAN DO. At a second, larger level (and I really need to see an honest and long-term effort by elected and appointed government officials and industry "leaders" here) it seems there is need to:

(1) stabilize oil prices,

(2) aggressively develop non-food-based alternative energies, and

(3) reward energy efficiency and conservation measures by valid investments and incentives.

NO LAUGHING MATTER. I saw a photo today of the U. S. Senate--including all our Presidential candidates--standing, applauding and laughing (see above). For the first time that I can remember, such a scene irked me. Surely they were laughing at something legitimately humorous. But it hit me that they would not be laughing if they were in my shoes right now. They should not dare walk out of that chamber until they have honestly grappled with this issue. But it appears they and the Bush Administration have not, are not...will not? We don't want pandering or "someday" gestures; we need to see a serious plan of action begin to develop...right away.

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