Do you remember the Brady Bunch episode where one of them spear-headed a school project to conserve electricity? As I remember it, (and let's face it, I haven't devoted a whole lot of brain cells to the Brady Bunch and it was the 70's after all) all the Bradys started out really well, and then sort of lapsed into thinking they could splurge a little.
Marsha, of course, petty little princess that she was, had to use an electric hair dryer. I'm not sure what the others did to splurge. It probably involved playing groovy music on their stereo or something. Anyway, with just a few days left in the month, they discovered that they had used nearly all their allottment of electricity. What to do?
Well, they had to really scrimp. NO electric hair dryers. NO tv or stereo. NO air conditioning. I mean, those Bradys really had to rough it. Alice said something wise, I'm sure, and Mr. and Mrs. Brady allowed the children to learn a valuable lesson and everything was back to normal next week.
We had a pretty good start in the 70s. We started seeing solar panels on some roofs. Small, 4-cylinder cars started replacing big gas guzzlers. We recycled and stopped littering. We demanded that big factories stop just throwing garbage into the rivers and air. We had a feeling.
And then we forgot about it.
We have oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico at an alarming rate. The rate that alarms me at least as much is the $million per day spent to keep that rig going before it blew up. The hundreds of millions it cost to build it. It killed four people immediately. Who knows how many ocean dwelling animals and plants will eventually die because of this. And who knows how many hundreds of millions will be spent trying to clean up this mess. And Grimm only knows how many people will lose their incomes because of this one oil rig.
So the next time someone tells me that "alternative" energy is expensive, I think I'll dump a can of crude oil on his head. Just what the heck is the alternative to relying on a fossil fuel to the tune of billions of dollars, wars, and poisoning the oceans? How bloody expensive can "alternative" energy be?
For crying in a bucket, when I was a kid every family farm had at least one wind mill drawing water from a well. It's not rocket surgery, people!
And guess what? Everything is not going to be back to "normal" next week. It's not going to back to normal next year or next decade or next century. We need to totally give up the idea that we are going to get back to our old way of thinking and doing and living because we're Americans or special or God-fearing, or whatever it is that we think keeps us from needing to be responsible.
Time to sing our own groovy music; make our own electricity; work with the sun, the tides, the wind. It's not the 70s any more. We don't have an endless supply of oil or water or clean air or clean land or time. To us much has been given. We have taken even more. And with that comes great responsibility. We have not been good stewards of Earth. And we don't have the luxury of pretending like it doesn't matter any more.