Driving Global Warming
What would Jesus drive?
No, the time has come to make the case in the strongest terms. Not to harass those who already own SUVs--in a way, they're the biggest victims, since they get to live in the same warmer world as the rest of us, but have each sent 40 grand to Detroit to boot. But it's time to urge everyone we know to stop buying them. Time to pass petitions around church pews collecting pledges not to buy the things in the future. Time to organize your friends and neighbors to picket outside the auto dealerships, reminding buyers to ask about gas mileage, steering them away from the monster trucks.
Time, in short, to say that this is a moral issue every bit as compelling as the civil rights movement of a generation ago, and every bit as demanding of our commitment and our sacrifice. It's not a technical question: It's about desire, status, power, willingness to change, openness to the rest of creation. It can't be left to the experts--the experts have had it for a decade now, and we're pouring ever more carbon into the atmosphere. It's time for all of us to take it on, as uncomfortable as that may be.
Calling it a moral issue does not mean we need to moralize. Every American is implicated in the environmental crisis--there are plenty of other indulgences we could point at in our own lives, from living in oversize houses to boarding jets on a whim. But there's no symbol much clearer in our time than SUVs. Stop driving global warming. If we can't do even that, we're unlikely ever to do much.
Bill McKibben is the author of 'The End of Nature,' and, most recently, 'Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously.'
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