The president spoke eloquently from the Oval Office on the need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Absolutely! We must do that. He spoke powerfully on increasing development of alternative energy sources. Absolutely!
However, I have not heard him – or anyone else for that matter – speaking to our addiction to what drives our dependency on oil. What are the grand, and the mundane, means of reducing petroleum consumption? Simplification of life style would go a long way; manufacture of “things” which are made to last (rather than becoming outdated or broken, and added to landfills far too soon), and creating communities in which people can live and work in near proximity. Over twenty years ago, Frances Moore Lappe’s popular book, Diet for a New Planet, encouraged us to eat from lower on the food chain in order to preserve energy resources – as well as our personal health. And, almost forty years ago Fritz Schumacher taught about more humane economics, and the beauty of simplified lifestyles, in Small Is Beautiful.
The need for simplification of lifestyles is not new. Recognition of justice’s demand is not new. We have known for decades that our consumerist habits deny over half the world’s population the opportunity to live in dignity.