My praises to Jeffrey S. Young for his masterfully written article “Oil Companies Admit to Contributing to Climate Change — and Blame You,” and many thanks to the Independent for publishing it.

Clearly, as the article elucidates, if the oil companies, themselves, are acknowledging that fossil-fuel combustion is largely causing global warming — along with all its attendant disasters — we citizens, too, need to begin facing this increasingly undeniable fact. Moreover — as the oil companies also point out — if we were not constantly demanding their products, they would not be producing them.

Blaming the oil companies for our environmental cataclysm is like blaming the tobacco companies for our lung cancer. We, as citizens, need to start assuming individual responsibility for our own greed, indolence, and ignorance. This awakening would entail not only driving less, but also reducing our use of all unnecessary petroleum-based products, such as plastic packaging.

We might march in protest against the oil companies and their Washington cronies; we might write letters to our congressional representatives … or to our local newspapers; but are we still driving our private passenger cars to the protest marches? Are we still tossing our plastic products into our landfills? Are we still deluding ourselves that plastics are actually recyclable? How much of our accustomed comforts, luxuries, and conveniences are we willing to relinquish in order to reduce impending global environmental collapse (after which, incidentally, our surviving progeny will have no comforts, luxuries, or conveniences)?

Folks, if you really want to slow down global warming and environmental disaster, consider giving up something that contributes to it. Maybe you could ride a bicycle, instead of driving to the store? Maybe you could start taking the bus or the train to your destination? How about purchasing organically-grown produce, instead of commercially-grown produce, which requires far more petroleum? Or maybe choose a beverage bottled in glass, instead of plastic? Certainly, a 180˚ reversal in government policies and mindsets will be required to avert the environmental consequences predicted in Mr. Young’s article; but, ultimately, it will come down to us — to we, the consumers — admitting our own culpability in this impending disaster, awakening in time, and relinquishing just a bit of our greed and denial.


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