Watching my fellow Californians adapt to rising gas prices and the expensive death throws of an petroleum based economy has been inspiring. People are riding bikes, using mass transit, buying scooters and motorcycles, and telecommuting. Some are even walking.
Television and newspapers present more than enough evidence of a culture in flux. Gone are the days of drill and drive, foot on the gas, abandon. Up against the wall of a finite resources and a faltering economy, the majority of Californians are altering the way they do business. This is a very good thing.
As talk turns to solar, wind and wave energy and against those unwilling to shake the oil monkey off their, gas hybrid cars seem almost obsolete as it is clear moving beyond ecologically destructive fossil fuels provide more harm than gain. Calls from the oil industry to drill off the California coast are falling on angry ears. Pollution and climate change have changed the equation. Oil no longer equates with progress.
Change doesn't come easy, and if unprepared it can hit you hard. Often small alterations in personal behavior can make a world of difference and lead to even more profound changes. For example - Riding a bike to run errands not only saves gas it's also a great work out, which in turn can negate the need for a gym membership, which will further help reduce expenses at a time of financial uncertainty.
Sure, a bike is not as fast as a car, so what. Slowing down is a good thing when you're are going nowhere fast. Walking to the store takes even more time, but it is healthier than driving, and on foot shopping loads are kept comfortably small. Going slower and getting by with less is the future of Californians.
In this time of pronounced social and economic Darwinism, Californians who rapidly adapt to the end of oil, will be the ones best suited to endure the coming crisis.
One response to the price of gas and changing economic conditions is of note due to it's simplicity and the age of those championing it.
I was asked to meet with a group of Carlsbad High School students for a photo op as part of their campaign to encourage drivers to slow down for conservation and climate change mitigation. The students Slow Down- Save Gas movement is about encouraging drivers to voluntarily limit their speed to 55 miles per hour.
To build support and momentum for their Drive 55 efforts the Carlsbad students reached out to students involved with the agricultural programs at San Marcos High School. These San Marcos Students reached out a hand to San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond and Escondido city planner Jay Petrek. The students also networked at the recent Del Mar Fair, bringing the "Slow Down-Save Gas" message to other agricultural students participating in the livestock portion of the fair.
This is a good thing.
Change is coming, some would even say it is already here. I'm just glad Californians are altering their consumptive course. I'm glad teenagers are taking the lead and adults are following.