LemmingsA local newspaper ran a story recently about polling results that show that Americans’ attitudes toward energy conservation have shifted once again, indicating a weakening commitment to reducing energy consumption in favor of increasing energy production, as the solution to the escalating costs to the American public.

Last year as the price of gas was creeping up to the $3.00/gallon mark, and already hit hard by soaring electric bills, the attitude of the American public was becoming increasingly “conservation oriented” – the typical American consumer was making consumer choices toward ways to conserve energy in order to reduce their personal costs, such as buying energy efficient appliances, hybrid cars, replacing lightbulbs with CFLs, driving less, and supporting state and federal legislation that was conservation oriented.

Now that the price of gas has hit and exceeded the $4.00/gallon mark and continuing to rise, watching electric bills continue to climb, and now facing escalating food prices, polls indicate that our newly-
found commitment to energy conservation measures is being replaced by a significant shift in attitude in favor of increasing off-shore drilling for oil, and opening up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for oil

In other words, instead of taking personal and governmental responsibility for cutting back on energy consumption, it seems that the typical American is once again on the fast track to insisting that our insatiable appetite for energy be catered to regardless of the risks and costs to the environment and ultimately our selves.

President Bush’s recent speeches demanding that Congress take action to release restrictions on offshore drilling and in ANWR have been effective in turning Americans away from demanding the hard work needed to build a post petroleum economy and toward a fossil fueled lemming march over the cliff. The lowering of energy prices implied in Bush’s offshore drilling campaign is illusory. Gas si $4 a gallon because of the weak dollar and speculative investing, not because of a shortage of crude oil. When that shortage does come the relatively small amount of oil left in the ground in North America will not make a significant difference.

We need to reduce our dependence on OIL not just foreign oil. We need to get to work now.