Noting the growing popularity of â€˜greenâ€™ products and â€˜eco awarenessâ€™ it seems important to do a reality check from time to time. How â€˜greenâ€™ is a festival that is giving away a car to promote itself? How â€˜eco awareâ€™ is it to fly in a jet aircraft? Read on for answers to these and other important questions.
Thousands of small business vendors rely on these festivals and travel thousands of miles every year to attend them. Tens of thousands, even millions, of people attend them for entertainment and to spend money, thus stimulating the economy while giving people a break from the routine. Seemingly, this is all good, right?
Sadly, this is not all good, and here is why.
First, transporting all these people and goods increases energy consumption. It is no secret that most of the oil consumed in the US is imported, and that war rages worldwide to secure future supplies. Put simply, a portion of every dollar spent on petroleum will wind up in a petroleum warlords bank account. So all this festival travel increases our daily contribution to funding wars for oil.
Second, pollution increases. Emissions from burning fossil fuels are just part of the story. Pipelines rupture, tanks leak and spills happen allowing millions of gallons of toxic chemicals to commingle with groundwater supplies, which have been linked to a Frankensteinâ€™s workshop of disfigurement and disease. Bottled water is no longer a luxury item.
Third, local community suffers. Though a tomato grown 300 miles away may SEEM to taste/look/smell/feel better, in fact it probably is not. Transporting a carload of kids a few hundred miles to swim or ride on carnival rides doesnâ€™t make much sense when these very same attractions are going on nearby. Local relationships suffer simply due to neglect. Societal disconnect from each other increases, we become ever more strangers to each other, anonymous consumers racing from one entertainment extravaganza to the next, rarely pausing long enough to develop relationships, much less community that is not dependent on a steady flow of cheap petroleum.
It is important to avoid Black and White thinking â€“ I am advocating moderation. Trade and diversity is crucial to healthy community. What I am suggesting is to moderate consumption of fossil fuel, to use less. It is already a consideration when making plans, how about raising the priority to not only include the immediate cost of the fuel, but also to take into consideration the true costs involved, namely taking responsibility for our individual funding of petroleum warlords and damage to the environment. How about if each of us focused on reducing personal consumption by 50%? We can do this by deciding to participate in half as many festivals, or to reduce our travel to half as much. This will require some thought and commitment. Will you write down how many miles/festivals/gallons of petroleum you consumed in the past during the year? Will you keep track of how much you consume this year? Are you ready to take responsibility for your support of petroleum warlords and damage to the environment?
Learn how to reduce petroleum consumption right now by 20%-50%.
Average BTU consumed Per Passenger mile by mode of travel:
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Per AMTRAK website, 09/19/2006:
Mode of Transportation Energy Used (BTUs)
Trucks (Light and Heavy) 3,228
National Association of Railroad Passengers Press Release on U.K.-California Global Warming Pact
National Association of Railroad Passengers – Oak Ridge Data on Fuel Efficiency
Note: BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, a standard unit of energy. Figures listed refer to BTUs used per passenger mile.
Sulfur in the air (flying to a warmer climate)
Jet Fuel 3000+ ppm Sulfur
Off-road diesel 500+ ppm Sulfur
Regular on-road diesel 15-500 ppm Sulfur
Ultra Low Sulfur diesel less than 15 ppm Sulfur
The MISSION of the PEACE TRAIN to DC is to deliver a message of PEACE THROUGH CONSERVATION to the WORLD.