The other week I received a mass-forwarded e-mail concerning high gas price. I feel obligated now to call the campus’s attention to the contents of the e-mail in hopes of dismantling some of its misleading rhetoric.The e-mail offered a ludicrous solution to the gas-prices “problem” consumers are facing today. It reasoned that by boycotting the largest oil corporation in operation (Exxon/Mobil), we could force them to lower their prices, thus lowering prices across the board.
This seems like it could work. But the e-mail makes a fatal error. I thus sent a mass-reply to the email, hoping to squelch its message at least among those on the same forwarding tree as me. I wrote (more or less):
The ‘boycott’ solution solves nothing! Want to make a real difference? Stop thinking as consumers and start thinking as intelligent members of a society whose destruction will be due to the depletion of limited resources! In order to truly tackle the gas crisis, billions of people must make the following promise: to stop being so short sighted and selfish and start acting in ways that will help prolong the survival of the species, even if it is inconvenient. This entails many changes…among them: give up your car. If that is too radical, as the mass e-mail to which I am replying suggests, CUT DOWN! Carpool. Bike. Ever hear of feet? Public transportation! At least try fuel-efficient cars. It may be difficult, and it may require large adjustments in lifestyle, but the environment and how we are affecting it should be a factor in decisions we make every day. Driving to and from work in an enormous, inefficient car every day is not an immutable, God given American right, as the Bush administration would like you to believe. It is a bad habit that needs to be changed.
As “consumers”, we should realize that trying to manipulate multinational corporations would prove futile (who’s to say that the e-mail to which I am replying was not generated by a competitor of Exxon/Mobil?) and that the only practical approach to the “problem” of rising gas prices involves acknowledging that our complete dependence on fossil fuels is self-destructive and should be reassessed. Together we can shake the habit! Become an intelligent, conscientious, and forward-looking individual and take at least a conditional vow of abstinence. Please realize that GASOLINE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A NECESSITY.