High gas prices inspire different reactions in Americans.
As sensible people realize that gas prices will only go higher in the coming years, some people move closer to transit, employment, or schools. Some people telecommute. Some people car-pool. Some lose weight through once-common practices known by quaint names such as “walking” and “biking.” This writer (for what it’s worth) is selling his car next month and moving to an urban center with good neighborhoods, transit, and walkable streets.
Not everyone can pick up and move, but incremental changes are possible.
On the other hand, some people just want to complain.
In a recent op-ed article, Exodus President Alan Chambers admits to central Florida that he’s mad at gas prices and polluted air. But his recollection of a recent commute across Orlando suburbs in his old Mercedes offers no sign that Chambers was taking any measures to conserve fuel, besides briefly turning off his air conditioning. He seems unwilling to publicly acknowledge a basic truth: His decision to live and work in separate, car-dependent suburbs represents an unyielding and unsustainable lifestyle choice which, repeated by millions of motorists worldwide, is the cause of both rising fuel prices and worsening air pollution.
Chambers clings to both his old car and his 40-minute round-trip daily commute, with all the exhaust fumes that both entail.
“So,” Chambers says, “it’s windows up for this conservationist, because conserving my life is more important than conserving fuel and lowering my monthly gas bill.”
When it comes to transportation, Chambers is no more a “conservationist” than ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell. At a time when others around the world are making sacrifices to achieve sustainable lifestyles, Chambers remains an addict to expensive, time-consuming, and polluting behaviors. He chooses not to change, because change requires effort.
Chambers has the right to choose an unsustainable commute, but has no justification to be mad at anyone other than himself for his choice. But it is not too late for Chambers to admit that, yes, change is possible.
The president of Exodus can choose to rally friends, allies, and elected leaders to support sustainable lifestyles and sustainable energy and transportation policies.
Or, Chambers can choose to rally support for antigay demagogues like James Dobson who bless fuel-wasting and polluting lifestyles with self-satisfied godtalk.
Will Chambers make sacrifices — as someone like, say, Jesus of Nazareth might do — or will he continue to lead Exodus and its followers on a self-righteous political path toward fuel shortages, environmental decay, transportation paralysis, and growing national insecurity?
(Hat tip: Emproph)