Saturday, March 12, 2011

U.S. must finally end its addiction to oil

CNN Opinion
By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor

Gas prices are skyrocketing nationwide and Americans are angry that they have to spend more of their hard earned money at the pump each week.

The crisis in northern Africa, specifically in Libya, has led the dramatic rise in the cost of oil, which now tops $101 a barrel, over the past month. And with summer approaching, Americans are fretting over whether to hit the highway for vacation because the price of gas, averaging $3.52 a gallon nationwide, is expected to go even higher.

Our political leaders? Some Democrats and Republicans are leaning on President Barack Obama to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and use some of the millions of barrels of oil we have on tap to provide some relief as a result of the price increase.

In a news conference Friday, President Obama said he'll release the oil if needed.

"All options are on the table when it comes to any supply disruption," he said.

Is this Groundhog Day or what?

Three years ago this nation went through convulsions when gas prices skyrocketed. Folks were sharing rides and pushing elected officials to broaden public transportation plans. Hybrids and electric cars started getting a second look from gas conscious drivers, and all the talk was about alternative energy and not being dependent on Arab leaders in the Middle East.

And when those gas prices went back down? We yelled, screamed and cheered, and then pulled the SUVs out of the garage, filled them up with gasoline and forgot all about the pain we endured.

This is the American story: Alleviate our pain so we can go back to business as usual. And when the crisis comes back, we'll fret, scream and go bonkers.

Please, stop the madness!

When are we simply going to reach the conclusion that as long as this nation has a Charlie Sheen-like addiction to gas, our chains can be yanked at any time, which will send our economy into a tailspin?

The U.S. Energy Department predicts that with the dramatic rise in gas prices, the average American family will spend an additional $700 annually on gas. And with money already tight, that is a huge hit.

Unfortunately, our crack-like dependence on oil continues to lead us down the road of agony and despair, and our political leaders have no courage to own up to the special interests and gas lovin' Americans and say, "Dammit, enough! We can't move forward like this!"

Democrats and Republicans are now saying President Obama needs to allow for more drilling off the shores of the United States. Really? So that's the only answer? Everyone knows there isn't enough oil to satisfy America's thirst. But oh no, we keep this charade up.

America will never be able to transition our system from an oil-dependent economy to an alternative plan unless we show the courage to make the tough choices today and get the payoff later.

I don't care what Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says about energy efficient lightbulbs; the old ones were cheaper, used more energy and we had to buy a lot more. The government's move to force a new lightbulb standard caused some pain on the front end with my wallet, but over the long term, fewer bulbs are being bought and I'm seeing a decrease in my light bill.

Until the nation accepts this reality, we will continue to be at the mercy of oil-possessing countries.

Embracing non-oil energy alternatives -- wind, natural gas, electric and solar -- can absolutely create jobs in this country, and we should require Americans to make their homes more energy efficient with products built by Americans. What's wrong with that? How can the United States create solar technology and then allow the Chinese to become the leading manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels?

No one alternative energy source can replace oil. It has to be a comprehensive plan that addresses our long-term needs. And it is going to mean we will have to spend money. Yes, we will be affected in the short-term, but if someone told me we could spend $500 billion today, and that would create millions of jobs over the next several years and lead to a transition to an alternative-energy economy, I would ask where I should sign up.

But if we have no courage, we will lose every time.

So, if the only thing you know is "drill, baby, drill," and that gasoline is our only option, great. Have a wonderful time. And every time gas skyrockets, just smack yourself upside the head with that gas pump, because you're the reason we remain stuck on stupid when it comes to energy in this country.

Turning algae into oil the NASA way

Oil Addicts Anonymous
AES Solar

Only you can decide whether you want to give Oil Addicts Anonymous a try — whether you think it can help you.

We who are in Oil Addicts Anonymous came because we finally gave up trying to control our addiction. We still hated to admit that we could live safely. Then we heard from other Oil Addicts Anonymous members that we were sick. (We thought so for years!) We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt and loneliness and hopelessness that we did. We found out that we had these feelings because we had the disease of oil addiction .

We decided to try and face up to what oil had done to us. Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem.

The Twelve Steps- These are the Twelve Steps as defined by Oil Addicts Anonymous International.

I. We admitted we were powerless over oil—that our lives had become unmanageable.
II. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
III. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the greater good of the Earth.
IV. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
V. Admitted to the world, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
VI. We're entirely ready to remove all these defects of character.
VII. Humbly ask to remove our shortcomings.
VIII. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
IX. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
X. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
XI. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the Earth, as we understood it, praying only for knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry that out.
XII. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to oil addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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