Gulf spill: What oil habits will you change?
I'm not an activist. But the BP oil spill prompted to me to commit to using less petroleum.
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By comparison, the Deepwater Horizon rig is 50 miles from shore and on the eastern side of the state. The oil has been drifting away from Sulphur and toward Florida instead, and for that my family feels dubiously lucky. It’s like feeling grateful when a hurricane turns the other way or when the flood waters rise in someone else’s neighborhood.Skip to next paragraph
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We can usually call it a natural disaster, say prayers, and collect canned food to donate to those whose homes were destroyed.
But a broken oil rig pumping crude into the ocean is the result of human hands, not nature’s fury, and no reasonable nature lover could be happy to see the oil wash up on their neighbor’s shores. I know what my family would have lost if a different rig had gone down, and my heart aches for the losses of the communities closest to the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Consumers can take action
Now it’s time to turn that ache into action. We live in a consumer culture where, theoretically, buyers have all the power. It’s time to test that theory by switching to sustainable products and using our dollars to demand and support the development of better petroleum alternatives.
When I heard the news about the oil spill, I swore to quit using oil immediately and permanently, but I was in the middle of my drive home from work and quickly realized how difficult it would be to cut petroleum from my life. Difficult, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
That realization prompted me to commit to reducing my petrol use one day and one purchase at a time. True to my generation, I’m doing it on a blog. I’ll be making efforts to drive less, consume less energy, use fewer plastics, and learn about alternative fuels.
Every purchase I make is a miniscule step, but I hope by putting my journey in the public view I can help inform others and encourage them to create change.
Mary Richert is a Louisiana native currently living in Maryland. She blogs at Not An Activist and contributes regularly to The Nervous Breakdown. She has also contributed to The Guardian’s Comment is Free, and Brevity. She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College.
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