Every now and then, someone comes along with an idea so amazing, so ground-breaking that it makes the rest of us stop and say, “Wow! Why didn’t I think of that?”The wheel was such an idea. So were the bicycle, the automobile and the airplane.Of course, inventions can have unintended consequences. The internal combustion engine has made life more convenient and undoubtedly saved many lives. For example, ambulances rush injured people to hospitals every day much faster than horses ever did. Then again, tens of thousands of Americans are killed in car crashes every year. Ironic?The price of gasoline is shocking. Even adjusted for inflation, pump prices seem out of control. It’s even more painful because our federal government is run by a couple of oil men. More irony?Our dependence on the automobile makes us totally loyal to oil. Like the child of an overly stern parent, we keep coming back for more punishment. We can’t imagine life without it. The electric car is still a distant dream. The best we can do is drive hybrids, but even those use some petroleum products.And so it goes with progress: We take one step forward and one step backward. Does that mean we should stop trying? Surely not. My father taught me a wonderful phrase in Greek: pan metrion aristo. Roughly translated it means, “All things in moderation.”Those who propose boycotting oil companies fail to understand that there is no escaping from that product at this stage in our modern technology. Maybe someday. But for now, embargoes only penalize the consumer.Might we drive less than we do? Could we walk to the store from time to time? Ride a bicycle or a bus to work occasionally? That might not bring the big oil companies to their knees as some would like. But it would save some money and provide other benefits, too. And eventually, who know? Maybe we will develop alternative sources of energy. As with most complex social problems, the solution often resides in taking personal responsibility.
Causes Terry Phillips Supports
Armenia Fund, ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International