Declare your independence from oil

Declare your independence from oil

By Lars Christopher Nøttaasen (Flickr: Colorful Old Oil Barrels)

When you get right down to it, most of the pollution in America today comes from oil: Drilling for oil pollutes our oceans and land even when it doesn’t spill. And when it does (and it always will, as long as you drill), the effects are permanent and devastating. Burning oil — especially after it’s refined into heating fuel, diesel or gasoline — pollutes the air with carcinogens and toxins, and contributes most of the CO2 that’s warming the planet.

But the trouble is that oil is everywhere — it’s our main fuel for getting to work, school and everywhere else. It powers the heat for most of us who live in the northern hemisphere, and it powers the AC for those of us who live in warmer climates. It’s in millions of consumer products, from plastic sippy cups to cleaning agents.

To add insult to injury, we actually subsidize all this pollution with $41 billion dollars in bailouts and tax breaks for the big oil companies every year.

If we want to seriously protect the planet and all of us who live on it, we need to end the tyranny of oil — we need a revolution that puts the big oil companies out of business by the end of this century and creates a new economy that uses no oil. That’s not a typo — I’m talking about an America with no drilling, no spilling, no refining and no burning of any oil product by the time our grandkids graduate college.

Turning anger to action
To borrow a phrase from President Obama: Are you in?

I thought so. But declaring our independence from oil will require taking on the oil companies directly. Politicians cannot or will not regulate them, and anyway, they’ve already shown their brazen disregard for laws and regulations put before them.

So we’re going to make the companies change their own behavior — so they’ll close down new drilling sites, give back the money they took from taxpayers and invest in clean energy alternatives.

Nobody thinks this is going to be easy. Right now, Big oil companies make hundreds of billions of dollars doing business. But after huge spills like the ExxonValdez in Alaska or the BPHorizon in the Gulf of Mexico, public outcry forced these big oil companies to make minor changes — like workplace safety on drilling rigs. The trouble is, as soon as public attention shifts, the companies go right back to ignoring the rules and polluting the planet.

A path to success on oil independence
So we’re building a movement to put intense pressure and scrutiny on them all the time.

You can help: Below are five simple steps you can take to declare your independence from oil. Read them, take as many actions as you can and let us know about it:

  1. Carpool, cycle or use public transport to get around.
  2. Choose products packaged without plastic, and recycle or re-use containers.
  3. Buy local and organic fruits and vegetables (fertilizers and pesticides use oil, as does shipping food long distances).
  4. Reduce, re-use and recycle every chance you get.
  5. Sign our petition to Congress asking them to stop subsidizing Big Oil.

As soon as we gather 100,000 actions to declare independence from oil, we’ll deliver the collected list to the corporate headquarters of the four biggest oil companies in the world — BP, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron. And we won’t go alone. By delivering the collective actions of so many, we’ll create a media spectacle that will grab headlines and the attention of the CEOs who run these companies.

We can’t ignore the massive damage oil does to our planet. And with your help, these CEOs won’t be able to ignore it for much longer either.