Published on Monday, February 6, 2006
by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
by Michael Brune
Our president almost came clean in his State of the Union speech last week when he finally admitted that "America is addicted to oil." That addiction threatens our national security, our environmental health and our way of life.
It is true that our leaders are exhibiting the classic signs of an addiction denial, aggression, avoidance, blaming others and as a country we are falling far short of reaching our full potential.
America's stubborn dependence on oil erodes our bedrock values. For it, we will go to war, support unstable and undemocratic regimes, destabilize our climate, decimate our forests and parks, threaten the health of our children, and weaken our economy.
The president admitted to a national problem, but stopped well short of committing our country to a full recovery program. We already have the technology. What we desperately need is the courage to act now. It is time for nothing short of a national intervention, and a 12-step program to break America's oil addiction. Here's how:
Step 1: Let's admit that we have a problem, and commit deeply and truthfully to a national recovery program to break our oil addiction. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will create millions of jobs, clean our air, protect our water supplies, our forests and our climate, and will help to build a safer and more secure world for us all. But breaking our addiction requires humility and an unwavering commitment to change at every level of society. No one gets a free ride anymore.
Like a smoker who says he's going to quit someday even as he lights up another cigarette, the president offered little hope that he would actually break our country's oil addiction. It will take a lot more than a speech and a few research dollars to set us free from oil. Let's get to work.
Michael Brune is the executive director of Rainforest Action Network and serves as a founding board member of Oil Change International.
© 2006 The Capital Times