Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Price of Gas...


Since my last post, we've decided that our vacation plans, which included driving about 5500 km, are not wise in these times of rising fuel costs. Oil hit $137 per barrel yesterday. Unbelievable. And I think I'm happy about it.

To be clear, I'm not happy that we had to change our vacation plans. But I wonder if the rising cost of oil is not just the "shock" that we all need to realize what our collective greed for petroleum is doing to this planet we call home.

When something that society's "fringe" (of which I've always aspired to be part of) has been yelling about for decades suddenly hits the mainstream in the pocketbook, things get serious. When there are new opportunities to make money from environmentally-friendly options like hybrid cars, or alternate energy sources, or organic food, these items become more readily available in the marketplace. And, I think, this is a good thing. For the most part, anyways.

I've always envisioned a lifestyle for myself and my family that involved trying to minimize our ecological footprint on the planet. I think, in recent years, we've been missing the mark by a lot. Our lives are rather typical of a three kid, suburban, middle-class, double-income professional existence, which, in general, does not tread lightly on this Earth. We take some efforts to make more environmental choices in our day-to-day lives, but I'm not sure that the collective impact is all that great. I believe that our lifestyle, like that of most families in Western society, is simply unsustainable.

How can I match my desire for a "lighter, kinder" lifestyle with the reality of our fast-paced lives? Open to suggestions here.

6 comments:

Doreen said...

Well, when I look out the window of this room I see two very large motor homes and 7 vehicles parked on the street or in the driveway for 3 houses. These are all single family houses with double car garages but I am not sure if any of them have room to park a vehicle in their garage for all the stuff they have. Gotta tell ya something about how most people live.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn...How do the girls feel? I am sending you a People magazine that David bought for me by accident which is a complete issue on the Jonas Brothers.

You know what we should do?

We should plan a Disney Cruise or something and meet you there?

Florence

redmaryjanes said...

I can tell you that with 4 kids, we produce a lot of trash. I would like to find a way for us to be less 'trashy'. : )

Doreen said...

Here we are only allowed one bag of garbage per household per week, regardless of how many people live there. We do a lot of recycling and composting. It amazes me how much recycling we have that we used to through in the garbage. We easily have 4 large bags of recycling every 2 weeks. There is a pilot program here as well where they are taking food waste for composting. This includes meat products and things that we can't normally compost ourselves. I am looking forward to this being more widely available since this would reduce our garbage to almost nothing.

Karla said...

Gosh Doreen!
Where do you live it sounds like a strong collective and quite remarkable. I always think of our imprint and agree that the cost of our consumption is good in terms of making us all think. Often it incites people as it hits the pocketbook but ultimately I think it may promote alternatives that are so much kinder to all that is vulnerable. Now to live it in our personal life.....
Karla

David said...

I think there has to be a much more significant increase in the price of fuel to make people seriously change how they "operate". There is no doubt a move afoot to try and change, but in all reality, how many people do you know who have started carpooling since the price of oil went above $100? I don't many people that have. Sad but true. I think hybrid cars, from what I've read, are not the answer either. I have read some articles that actually say the overall impact of making the hybrid has more environmental impact then what is saved from the lifelong operation of the hybrid itself. They are moving in the right direction but not fast enough.