My jaw dropped this morning, as I turned on C-Span during my morning exercise session; lo and behold, a Republican guest on Washington Journal, Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) was talking about peak oil and repeating much of Jim Kunstler's premise regarding the end of cheap oil, found in The Long Emergency.
Here's a link to Bartlett's interview (starts at the 2:04:00 mark) on the C-Span website; I've posted it here, because it's worth watching by anyone who cares to know about the issues facing our nation concerning our lack of a sustainable energy policy. I don't know much about Bartlett, but it's rare to hear any politician speak so honestly, intelligently and from the heart.
On the flipside, our own state's tourism director, Dann Lewis, is bitching about President Bush's request for American's to drive less, in order to conserve gas. Typical of the short-sighted response to any request for shared sacrifice, this state bureaucrat is quoted as saying that "it makes sense for Americans to cut back on unnecessary travel, but that discretionary driving for vacations is different." What? How is discretionary driving different? I rarely if ever find myself in agreement with President Bush; however, on this issue, I agree and hope he's serious in his call to conserve.
All of us can do our part to cut back on our car usage. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm stuck driving an older car that isn't the most energy efficient. It's not terrible on gas mileage, but with a large engine and bulky weight, a Toyota Prius it is not. Yesterday, while traveling to Farmington to deliver books and make other visits in the area for my part-time job, I made a conscious effort to obey speed limits (basically, drive 55 mph, which in itself helps to save energy). I also parked in the center of town and walked as much as I could, sometimes up to 1/2 mile away. At the end of the day, I'd saved some gas, and I felt better, having gotten some exercise and imbibed some mountain air.
Possibly, one way that Lewis could get on board, is to partner with travel options like the Maine Eastern Railroad, as an alternative way to bring tourists into the state. Other options might be bus tours, business-sponsored passenger van tours of various foliage loops, which would allow tourists to park their cars, conserve gas (save money, which they might decide to spend locally and help local economies). I'm sure L.L. Bean, Delorme, MBNA, BIW and other large Maine businesses would be happy to hop on board. Of course, that might mean some creativity on his part and if he's like most members of state bureaucracies, that's never one of their strongpoints.