AP photo by Charlie Riedel, from Boston.com's Big Picture blog
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the inevitable product of a culture that is disastrously addicted to oil. BP isn't simply a corporate monster; it's our dealer. Anyone who's pays $3 a gallon for their gasoline is complicit with the multi-trillion dollar industry that works to squeeze oil from tens of thousands of wells deep under the waters of the Gulf.
Here's the good news: we're not by any means helpless. We don't need to take our toothbrushes to Louisiana to clean up this mess: we need to stop buying and burning so much oil every day.
Jonathan Hiskes, in a recent post on Grist, has offered up "10 Ways Cities and Towns Can Kick the Offshore-Oil Habit." Here's a sampling, in a shortened format:
- Build complete streets, roads that include sidewalks, and are safe to walk across and bike along;
- Build more development near public transit;
- Let the market lead - consumer demand for walkable, transit-oriented development is on the rise, but Portland needs to do more to make sure that local laws and ordinances don't prohibit such smart-growth development;
- Demand density: along the same lines, locals should fight the "not-in-my-backyard" attitudes that often thwart smart development, and welcome new neighbors in close-in neighborhoods so that more people can enjoy the benefits of car-free living;
- Cut parking, which wastes valuable space, invites more traffic congestion, and reduces tax revenues, all in the service of subsidizing gasoline sales;
- Grant free parking for carsharing vehicles - something that Portland has already done on a temporary basis to lure UCar Share.
Or will we continue to export millions of dollars out of our local economy to pay companies like BP?