Dear Mr. President,
The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted a number of questions about our off-shore drilling policy. I think it's tragic that it takes the loss of 11 lives, a looming environmental crisis and a direct threat to the economies of coastal states for people to begin to seriously question the system of consumption we've created. We're like addicts begging for one more fix; we've just got to finish this bottle or this carton or this last source of oil, and then we'll get clean, no, really, we'll stop using and develop alternative energy this time, we promise. We can't lie to ourselves anymore; we have a problem. It's a dangerous descending spiral, one which will leave us, at best, ill-equipped to compete in the global economy, and, at worst, unable to support basic agriculture, transportation and defense.
It is time for real solutions; clean energy is not an abstract issue, it is a national security issue, a prosperity issue, an environmental issue, and a values issue. We must fund research and development in this field, accordingly. If the government does not take an active role in this, it will not happen fast enough- we've seen, in this latest crisis, just how much obfuscation the oil companies are capable of if in the name of protecting their own interests. The only way to decrease the dangerous and damaging oil drilling operations around the world is to eliminate demand through alternative solutions; this will not happen overnight, either. We must start, today, with an increased effort that demands the contributions of all of us, be those in the form of higher taxes on energy consumption, more sacrifices of convenience for conservation, and the diverting of funds from other areas towards developing cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.
A mine collapse in West Virginia and an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico should not be required to wake America up to the dangers of our short-sighted, arrogant lifestyles. We cannot continue living the way we always have, and we all must accept the responsibility for making the necessary changes in our energy policy. If we are very lucky, this, right now, is our rock bottom. Please, Mr. President, do not allow these tragedies to continue in vain. Circumstances are demanding change, and you have to lead us to it, before it is too late.