Is guilt misplaced onto commuters?

The first television coverage of the horrendous oil-slick tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico predictably flashed to images of automobiles crowding a six-lane freeway. You take away the message that alternative transportation should be used, to avoid gobbling up fossil fuels. But getting depressed over the fact that you have no other choice, at this time, than driving a car to work is counterproductive. Maybe you can’t afford to live closer to the workplace. Maybe vested interests opposed construction of rapid-transit rails. Maybe you bought the most fuel-efficient car you could afford, and you carpool. After all, you probably don’t have the level of income or accumulated wealth of those behind-the-scenes manipulators who decide that the people can’t have nonpolluting “free energy”.

Sinking into feelings of guilt and depression doesn’t do anything to create positive change. Depression is anger turned inward, and that’s probably the way the vested interests like to have us react.  I’m not proposing that striking out in anger is helpful either, but instead that we notch it up a level — channel our energies into spreading information about the variety of energy technology breakthroughs that exist but haven’t been allowed onto a “level playing field”.

Yes, there actually is suppression of potentially revolutionary clean energy systems and it’s been going on for more than 100 years, here and there on the planet. Those who do the suppressing — whether by silence, ridicule or hiring thugs who deliver heavy-handed threats — are the ones whose consciences should be most disturbed as the deep-sea oil well pours its contents onto shrimp beds and beaches.

Instead of giving up, getting depressed or even angrily blaming, I propose that we spread the word about solutions to humankind’s energy dilemma. The book that Joel Garbon and I brought out last year, Breakthrough Power: How Quantum-leap New Energy Inventions Can Transform Our World, is my best shot at a helpful action because everyone can understand what we’re saying. If there was ever a time for convincing the public to wake up and insist on having access to suppressed energy technologies, it’s right now. And no, it’s not for the purpose of perpetuating a plastic-waste-spewing consumer society. Instead the purpose of insisting giving low-cost, decentralized power to the people is to take care of basic needs. To take care of the vulnerable ones all over the world who need access to nonpolluting heat, lighting and a chance to clean up their world.

I’d like to lighten up, but in this week of environmental disaster spewing out from the ocean floor,  it’s a challenge.



  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    And I’m one of those driving a large vehicle long distances to work,loaded with supplies. In the meantime, until I have access to alternatives, I’ll continue to use voice and my dollar as best I can to make positive change. One voice, one dollar at a time.
    At the end of the documentary about the Exxon oil spill,Suzuki looked into the camera and said, “Shame on you, Exxon!”
    But Exxon doesn’t exist. Exxon is a mask. A corporation feels no shame. The shame is on the men and women hiding behind the mask who knowingly do harm and duck accountability. They are responsible. They should pay. And they should make amends.
    We need laws to enforce honest due process and just accountability. Then the viable alternatives can be ours to choose.

  2. The solution is the Venus Project. Resource based economy. for info.

    Remove the money motivation and work for a sustainable planet.

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