I knew it was going to be impossible to avoid on a holiday: sitting in traffic, that is. We know that travel on Memorial Day means we will have to count on it.
For the first time ever, I actually turned off my engine while in bumper-to-bumper traffic on an entrance ramp. I was surprised to see many other folks do the same. One dude got out his skateboard and did a few tricks for us. A nice way to prevent getting hot and bothered, I thought, and talk about being prepared!
After setting a lifetime record on the amount I spent on gasoline to fill my '99 Volvo, I was prompted to consider the gas I was consuming that day, as well as how much it would cost to make the day trip I had planned for the next day. "Can I make it through the two travel days on one tank? Wow, I just filled up, and I might have to fill up again tomorrow night." Sad to say, but I was one of those who handed over my gas card, said “fill'er up please,” and that was it. It was part of my regular budget, and there was no need to think about it. But the wake-up call has arrived, and we now have no choice but to think about it.
I was too young in the '70s to understand the embargo and resulting crisis, but now I get it, loud and clear, and it's beginning to pinch. Without a doubt, our lives are overdependent on oil and gasoline. Driving my daughter to school daily (although we will ride bikes now that it’s warmer), visiting friends, running too often to the supermarket—we have become fuel addicts, and we are not alone. Ever increasingly, it seems that gas is what makes the world go around.
A Captive Audience
So as I continued to sit in stand-still traffic for more than an hour, and after a lovely conversation with the gal in the car behind me about an essential oil that takes away the sting of insect bites, I tuned the radio to NPR, which was doing a segment on gas consumption of all things! I listened intently, learning that not only are Western countries consuming more and more resources, but Third World countries are also consuming more. In India, China and Africa, more and more people are leaving their countryside lifestyles to get jobs in nearby cities, turning in their bikes for fuel-burning cars. The standard of living is increasing globally, and the world is feeling the effects of diminishing resources from the shift of supply and demand.
I do believe things happen for a reason, and for me, being a captive audience really forced me to listen and take notice. The timing could not have been more perfect, and I was listening.
We are fortunate to be living during a time of great opportunity, but we don’t always take full advantage of it. Let’s shift out of the current gotta-have-it-NOW mindset to a what-can-I-do-with-what-I-have thinking, and even carry it over into our businesses. My gym, for example, is thinking out of the box, now offering membership discounts for getting there on foot or by bike. What a great incentive idea! And from there, I’m sure more ideas will flow.
Story of Stuff
I have a new friend who lives on an island in Norway that is government-subsidized to explore and research new and different ways to live more environmentally sound and aware. She and her neighbors take the environment very seriously, and she shared a powerful video with me. I want you to watch it and absorb it. It takes 20 minutes, but I assure you, it will be well worth your time. Share it with your family, friends, email list, corporations, and municipality and government officials.
And please remember to leave guilt at the door. It does nothing but tear us down. Allow the video to prompt you to take a more proactive approach by doing your part to chisel away day in and day out, no matter how big or small the effort. Just as long as you do something, REGULARLY.
Check out StoryofStuff.com and let me know what you think!