Sunday, June 29, 2008

The price of convenience

M. was in a competitive soccer tournament this weekend—daily temperatures and gas expenditures were brutal. I admit it...I was close to tears watching the end of today's game. M’s team is a collective group of spunky girls—three days in punishing, unusually high temps., and they never gave an inch.

Driving back and forth this weekend, I thought about fuel choices. We carpool as much as possible, driving other players to/from tournaments and practices. Every time I fill my tank though, it’s one less college credit we can afford…

I love Smart Cars—efficient and so darn cute, but I’d settle for a golf cart at this point. I actually drive a car that seemed efficient last year—a Scion XB. We’ve affectionately named it the x-box. It’s a big, little car—tall ceilings, lots of back-seat leg room—perfect for hauling kids, sports' gear, mastiffs. It gets 34 mpg on the highway, but I can barely afford driving it these days...a little discouraging.

The thing is, we—as in humans—brought this on ourselves. We’ve always known petroleum products were a finite resource—dinosaurs are extinct, now their byproducts are pushing extinction. Even more important, petroleum products are pollutants, affecting every part of our planet—what were we thinking??

We were thinking how cool it was driving from point A to point B at 60 mph, how amazing it was flying across the ocean in a few hours, how liberating it was relying on personal transportation, how exciting recreational toys were. We weren’t thinking about the cost of our actions…we were having too much fun, we didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

Twenty-five years ago the oil lobby was still going strong, sucking up funds requested by alternative fuel companies. Money talks, not always wisely, certainly not with foresight, but it definitely talks. Fortunately, self-preservation also talks, certainly not with foresight, probably not for humanitarian reasons, but it definitely talks. It's too bad self-preservation doesn't kick in until hindsight does...

So, here we are at a crossroads between preserving our quality of life and preserving our style of life. Hmmm….what to do, what to do…? Gosh, am I missing something here, or is this a no-brainer? We need to embrace alternative fuel sources ASAP…environmentally clean sources while we’re at it. Why add pollutants, if we can bypass them? Yes, change is expensive, but so is visiting the gas station. Green living isn’t just for nature lovers, it’s the only alternative to our environmentally downward slide toward extinction.

I prefer not ending up like dinosaurs, especially considering our brainpower and ability. We could actually step up for once, taking advantage of our intellectual capabilities. However, our timeline is shrinking…for our children, their children…we really are responsible for their future—we’re certainly capable of preserving their quality of life. That’s what it boils down to…responsibility. We don’t live in isolated bubbles, everything we do has an affect on the world around us…emotionally, environmentally. We don’t have a safety cushion anymore, it truly is time to make changes...

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