Mother Nature Would Like to Have a Word

While I certainly can’t speak for everyone, it certainly seems to me that the call to go green, especially with regards to oil, gasoline, driving less, and more fuel efficient vehicles, has sort of been muted as of late.  I also think the explanation why is obvious.

I have long subscribed to the theory that if you want people to pay attention, take action, and make changes, you’ve got to hit them where it counts: in their wallet.  This is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the cries for becoming more environmentally friendly grew louder as gasoline prices climbed higher.

On the flip side, I think this is also why many of us seem to not be as concerned about the environment — or at least trying to make immediate changes — as we once were.  After all, the price of gas has fallen about 50% from it’s peak.

But, one opinion does not a fact make, so I thought I’d pose the following question to my Daily Fuel Economy Tip readers: Are you less concerned about environmental issues now that gas prices have fallen over 50 percent?

As expected, this was kind of a hot button question, and nearly 500 people ended up responding.  Here’s how the responses broke down:

  • 43% – No, I still care just as much.
  • 19% – Yes, but I still care, just not as much.
  • 18% – Yes, I’m far less concerned
  • 15% – No, I was never concerned
  • 5% – Unsure

According to this poll, nearly 40% of people are less worried about environmental issues than they used to be, simply because the price of gasoline has gone from $4 a gallon to $2 a gallon!

It’s not as if $4 gas is more harmful to the environment than $2 gas, so it seems to me that for many of us, the push to go green had far more to do with economics than it had to do with the environment.

I know that we’re in tough economic times and that for most of us our self preservation instincts are kicking in, so we’re much more concerned with the here and now (economic crisis) than what may or may not go on in the future (environmental crisis).

That being said, maybe it should be the other way around.  Even if the economy completely tanks, we’ll still survive.  But, if the environment tanks, that’s another story.

After all, it’s going to take more than government bail outs to save the environment.


  1. It’s amazing how many people are clueless to the fact that oil is a limited resource, and the point where the demands of a growing population exceed the supply isn’t that far off. And here’s the kicker: there’s nothing out there that can replace it.

    Recommended reading: John Michael Greer’s The Long Descent

    And for those who enjoy watching stuff on the computer: Chris Martenson’s Crash Course

  2. The environmental crisis is here and now. We are just insulated from it.

    I’ve never owned a car.

    I think we need viable alternatives that people don’t have to alter their whole lives to embrace. This is starting happen – electric car networks in Israel, Denmark, one of the Arab states and so on.

  3. Looks like the green movement was mostly about the green in our bank accounts.

  4. Fossil fuels are a limited resource however we are an ‘act now’-‘fix it later’ society and this thought process is pervasive thoughout our culture.Our reliance on and
    abuse of fossil fuels has put our planet in jeopardy to the point that we are damaging our sustainable resources.With the speed of technological advances in todays world,
    the thought of the modern combustion engine seems somewhat antiqated to me. And so I wonder, is there an agenda behind not aggressively persuing the implementation of
    alternate fuels or alternative methods of travel?

    Our family made a choice to limit our use of automobile travel by downsizing to one vehicle and making less trips by car and more on foot or by bicycle. It may seem weird or unneccessary to many but the lesson it has taught our children is tremendous. To take a plan and put it into action empowers them. Their minds move in new ways and, in turn, their perspective changes. My oldest child in high school rides her bike to school, which she has stated ‘get’s her focused for the day’. My middle child chooses to car pool with 4 other high school students which gives them a few moments of ‘male bonding’ on the trip to school. My youngest child takes the bus
    which, in my opinion, is the ultimate carpool.

    It is absolutley our responsibility to teach our children alternate methods of doing things and to be aware of how they impact the environment in every little thing they do. We must be the example by not living in the moment and thinking two steps ahead. To teach children to be proactive in their approach to how they live their lives can only help them build a better world.

  5. Evan is an idiot says

    Evan, to begin with, who cares if you have ever OWNED a car. Let’s see.

    1) Have you driven a car?
    2) Are you some 14 y/o punk?
    3) Do you live in a city that actually has mass transit?
    4) Are you homeless?
    5) Do you still live with your parents?
    6) Are you disabled and can’t drive?

    And the list goes on and on.

  6. I would love to drive less, but when you live where I do, you have to come to accept that if you’re going to do anything other than hike in the woods or go to the same 3 restaurants, you’re going to have to drive. I love a good hike, but sheesh, variety is nice!

    -If you want a good play, you drive.
    -If you want a good restaurant, you drive.
    -If you want to shop somewhere other than wal-mart, you drive.
    -If you want a good concert, you drive.

    See a pattern developing here? 😉
    And you drive at least an hour, sometimes two. Three, and you’re in NYC and in heaven. 😉

    Heck, I’m going to the dentist today (yuck!) and it will be a half hour drive.

    If your budget doesn’t allow an expensive electric car (or if an electric car doesn’t have 4 wheel drive to drive you home on country roads in a snow storm and won’t get you up that unpaved dirt road to bring home your husband’s broken down 4-wheeler. ;), what are your options?

    If public transportation isn’t available, what are your options? Even if public transportation were available, you can’t bring home a whole cart load of groceries home on the bus, can you?

  7. Hi,

    I may well be an idiot.

    To answer the other questions.

    Nope, haven’t driven one.
    I’m 50 – don’t know how punkish.
    Yes, I live in a city with mass transit.
    I live with my partner.
    Not disabled, I walk around quite happily.

    Not sure what this has to do with idiocy. If you mean am I aware that all these things may not be true, yes, I know this.

  8. Francisco says

    i think you are right on all counts. I notice the pattern of gas price-worry for the environment-size of cars people buy long time ago. Most people like to feel the need up with the Joneses and lack discernment and specially social conscience when it comes to decisions like that.
    I have been walking as much as possible whenever possible and encouraging as many people as possible to do likewise. But i know is a personal choice that few people are willing to make.

  9. Simon from Aus says

    3 point mid term program, as far as I can see with my environmental experience, and not knowing the figures.

    1) Industrial Renovation. Cut the toxic crap, basically.

    2)Environmental Regeneration. Maintenance, Stabilization, and Expansion of current and future forest programs. Earth requires an ecosystem, kill that, you kill ourselves.

    3) Technological Augmentation. Basically, giant, un yet “invented”, expensive, noisy, atmospheric processors.

    1 or 2 points is not enough, all three would be a MINIMUM requirement, to bring us anywhere near neutral global environmental/atmospheric stability. We need to AIM for the positive, to really “heal” the ecosystem at all.

    Tokenism, carbon taxes/credits are a bloody joke. If we do not ALL start actively WORKING towards rebuilding and stabilizing the global ecology, it will be too late in 10 years when we have all this, haha, money from carbon taxes, and still the damage over those 10 years from output. Its a joke.

    Get out there and start breeding frogs and plants, not spreading this toxic cancer that is “Terran society”.

    By then it will be too late.

  10. I hate it when environmentalists talk about things like, “…and abuse of fossil fuels has put the planet in jeopardy.” Humans have never put the planet in jeopardy. The planet is going to be here for a long, long time – even after the sun goes, the planet will likely exist in some icy form. We aren’t even threatening the extinction of life on the planet, regardless of what we do. Environmentalists are the worst kind of self-centered people because they would have you believe they are doing things for the good of the planet when it is really all about sustaining human life on this planet. If you really love the Earth, the best thing that could happen is the removal of humans so who cares if we warm the planet until we’re all dead?

  11. This is also done to end oil and gas reserves so new world order could take place after world war 3…

    Get to know the truth of life… see my website…

  12. With the global financial crisis,we never know which way fuel prices are set to go. Going green is most definitely the only long term solution.

  13. What if there was an environentaly friendly product the EXTENDS the use of fossil fuels? There is and it works like you wouldn’t believe! Both our gasoline powered cars are ZERO emissions!

  14. Oil will eventually disapear but we are making steps for eco friendly cars.

    Although Top Gear may have shown many inspiring vehicles running off all sorts of other products such as methane produced from human and cow excrement.

    They recently performed a test with a battery powered car and then against a new car in America that performs just as well as a petrol car.

    For the life in me i cannot remember the car but it looked like we are getting close to providing a car we can all use.

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