CO2 and the Rise of 'Personal Responsibility' on the Left
by alipi, Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 01:21:01 PM EDT
Someone left an interesting note on one of my comments the other day, pointing out some of Obama's shortcomings on CO2 emissions. I ended up spending an hour or so doing some research and found myself at a rather unexpected and completely unrelated place: Blackle.com
Its a really smart idea - use a black screen for Google's homepage instead of a white one, and save energy in small increments. In the process, each individual person gets a daily reminder that small individual actions add up to big outcomes.
Before anyone dismisses this as just another fad, I want to try out a different spin on it. It seems to me that, given that the only credible political solution to the climate issue doesn't seem to want to represent a nation that re-elected Bush (I don't blame him, shame on all of us), the only way that real change can occur is from the ground up. And what does this entail? Small, daily, and sustained efforts on the part of millions of individuals adding up to larger action.
What if we all decided to pay a little extra for the green option on our electricity bills? What if we all decided to substitute bike rides for car rides whenever possible? Are these ideas really so radical? One of my new year's resolutions this year was to find a way to go carbon neutral, and I achieved this far easier than I initially thought was possible. All I did was give up my car and buy the green option. The money I save from the car far more than offsets the extra money on my energy bill (by about $500 a month), and I am in better shape. I don't even live in a city with public transport (Nashville)! Turns out, biking really isn't that hard. Can everyone do this? No, obviously not - people have families and other circumstances, but I bet that some people can afford to do this. And those who cannot, at least can make sure they get their gas from BP and not (NOT!) Exxon.
Call it silly, but I think that the time is ripe for us to steal one of the Right's most successful ideas, and actually put it to good use (instead of using it to mislead people). Personal responsibility - people love the idea because it is so quintessentially American. What if we, in a very vocal sort of way, proclaimed that personal responsibility is no longer a concept that justifies our turning away while our neighbors loose their houses due to absurd medical bills, but rather a concept that compels us to take small actions every day that take into account our responsibility to our planet and our fellow citizens.
Remember that JFK used this idea in his famous speach, and remember that people LOVED that speach and STILL love that speach. That is what people want. Right now, it seems that there is no solution for the climate crisis, because there is no political will to action. Therefore, we have to approach this challenge differently, and I think that if we approach it as a challenge for individuals and NOT governments, we will not only succeed, but also remind Americans something they seem to have forgotten: the Left, not the Right, has solved this nation's great problems throughout history, and it is the Left that has the ability to continue doing so.
So yeah. Progressive "personal responsibility." Apparently, Google gets it.