We took the kids to Timpanogos Cave a couple of weeks ago. One of the people on our tour with us was a soldier who we learned was recently back from a tour in Iraq. At the end of our cave tour Laura took a moment to point him out to our girls and told them “He’s a soldier, he has been fighting for our country.”
He overheard her saying this and commented “Right, fighting for oil.”
This obviously stuck with Laura more than me because she brought it up again recently with this insightful observation, “What is he willing to do about it?”
This is not an indictment against this soldier, or any who feel as he does. This is a legitimate question for all of us, especially those who complain about our war for oil. Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for his crusade about the environment. He has obviously determined that he is willing to give speeches, make movies, and organize concerts to raise public awareness. So far he has not been willing to reduce his own consumption. (Purchasing carbon offsets is nice, but it does not actually reduce consumption – it’s like buying indulgences.)
It’s fun and easy to participate in publicity stunts like Live Earth or Lights Off Utah but beyond their potential for raising awareness, these events are insignificant unless we change our lifestyles to match our rhetoric. We may want to see the state go dark, or attend a popular concert, but are we willing to drive less, use public transit, bike more, walk more, turn off unused lights at home, and use CF light bulbs or other energy efficient alternatives where we do consume natural resources.
I’m not saying that everyone has to do all those things. We have done many of them in our lives, but the real point is that there is no reason to believe someone is serious about the environment so long as they continue to consume as if they are not part of the solution.