Thursday, November 20, 2008

Green Break Up

"[W]e should see this whole process as a "break up" situation. When you break up with your lover, it is tough at first. But the next weekend you start going to the gym, you quit smoking, you buy some new clothes. You can use the energy unleashed by one big change to positively transform your life for the better. Well, we in America are about to break up with oil. Why not break up with poverty and discrimination too?"

Van Jones, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

Another "metaphor" car crash. I always thought that "breaking up was hard to do," but maybe I'm just too sentimental, not about oil, of course. Rarely can all the untangling be done by the weekend, especially if you share space, kids, and a mortgage. After all, oil is a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand, except, I guess, in the long sweep of history.

So, following the easy-to-break-up idea, we are then asked -- as America, I guess -- to break up with "poverty and discrimination" as well. A very good idea.

At the individual level, maybe even community level, we can shoulder some modest pain to live different lives related to consumption, transportation, waste, recycling, etc. I fear, however, that breaking up with oil will be a long, messy, vindictive, lawyer-driven divorce.

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