Staff Comment- You can do something about these issues

It should be apparent to you by now that there are three great, related crises going on that you absolutely have the power to do something about.

You might tell me that the part you play in each is small compared to the total number of people needed to sway each one of them. But don?t you dare tell me you lack the power, therefore, to make a difference, or that you don?t count.

Those are some of the cop-outs of those who want to be left alone, those who want to be whiners instead of doers, and the plain irresponsible who helped create the three crises.

This is about the chronically impotent who fail to act as much as it is about the crises themselves.

The three crises are all related to oil. The first crisis is one of the pocketbook. If you are like most people, the gasoline, diesel and other fuel prices are effectively reducing your available income big-time.

If you don?t feel that, then you are one of the lucky few enjoying the big transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the better-off classes.

Cutting back on fuel use probably is in your interest economically. With less demand, prices may come down.

The second crisis is global warming. This one is in everybody?s interest, even for those persons who want to believe it isn?t happening. The more oil that is burned as fuel, the more carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere, and the greater the rate of global warming.

Again, the solution is cutting back on the use of oil fuels and any other fossil fuels such as coal.

The third crisis is our wars and diplomatic problems in the Islamic countries. Don?t tell me how wrong President Bush is, or how wrong the war in Iraq is, if you have done nothing to lower your use of oil-based fuels.

If you are burning gasoline just like you always have with no let-up, then when Bush tells us he is acting in the economic interest of the United States, he?s talking about you.

When the bodies of our lost troops come home, it was you who cast a vote for putting them in harm?s way by the excess fuel you are burning.

Spending money is voting economically, and we all do it. The quickest way to relieve Muslim tensions is to quit buying from them. After all, someone who really wants to sell their products doesn?t try to drive out the best customer. Let?s leave them as fast as we can go.

I would suggest that if you leave your car running with the air conditioning on so you won?t have to come out of a shop to a hot vehicle, if you go through a drive-up window with a lot to do instead of one or two very fast transactions, if you are a young person cruising up and down the street for entertainment because you like it or because your parents did it, you are worse than being irresponsible.

You have blood on your hands. You are betraying the rest of us and the world with your selfishness.

Now, I don?t want you to sulk or feel guilty about this. I want you to start doing what you can about it. If and when you can, open the wallet to buy alternative fuels.

I don?t care if you don?t think ethanol is a long-term fix. Buy gasohol with the hope that it will stimulate other interests to come in for a share of the pie, and to save oil now.

Every chance you get, buy alternative energy, install fuel-saving devices like fluorescent instead of incandescent bulbs in the home.

Support efforts by others for the alternatives. Get the solar panels. Trade a gas-guzzler for an economical car as soon as you can. Get a hybrid vehicle. Car pool, and plan trips more effectively. Start conserving, and cutting back wherever you can.

Sure, you can tell me about the shale oil alternatives, etc. But that?s not going to halt global warming. Hydrogen fuel cells might slow it down, however.

Change to a lasting attitude, never forget how the prices have gone up, how the kids have died in Iraq, how the Islamists and the oil companies have treated us, or how the ice caps are melting.

Don?t forget it while saying tritely that the government or ?someone? ought to do something about it. It?s for you to do. Never forget it.


Jerry Engler writes news and features and covers county and city government for the Free Press.

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