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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Don’t Just Boycott BP—Stop Driving

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, BP, oil spill, boycott, The Other Paper, Christian Science Monitor,

BP spill signDoes boycotting BP gas stations send a message to the company that fouled the Gulf of Mexico? Or does it just hurt the poor mom-and-pop station owner down the street? The Columbus, Ohio, alternative weekly The Other Paper attempts to answer this burning question for guilt-ridden gas consumers in the story “Pissed Off at BP?”—and gets a stark solution from a BP station owner: Just don’t drive.

That’s right, Bill Englefield, who along with his brother Ben own 127 BP-supplied stations in the Columbus area, is

proactively getting the message out in advance of summer driving season that simply bypassing the green flower cannot ease your conscience.

“BP is one of the major suppliers of all gas in this market, and we’re not the only ones who buy their product,” he said.

The guy across the street could be supplied by BP regardless of what the sign says, Englefield added. And if they’re not supplied by BP one day, they may be the next, depending on the market.

So what should an emotionally charged activist do to avenge brown pelicans dying in distant lands?

“The best boycott is to just quit driving,” said Englefield.

Now that’s the most sense I’ve heard from a station owner in a virtual gusher of spare-the-small-business-owners homilies in the mainstream media.  The Christian Science Monitor, using much the same logic as Englefield, ends up doling out similar advice, putting “Bike or walk—don’t drive” at the top of ways to truly send a message to BP.

Of course, Englefield—who doesn’t fit my definition of a small business owner—intends to lay down a gauntlet of sorts, sensing that most people simply can’t quit driving, hence resistance to BP’s vast market reach is futile.

I suggest we call his bluff. Even if we can’t all quit, perhaps enough of us can cut back to send a message to the “small people” in the boardroom at BP.

(Thanks, Alternet.)

Sources: The Other Paper, Christian Science Monitor

Image from MoveOn.org's Facebook page.

john
6/18/2014 6:07:40 AM

Many of us would love to boycott driving to prove our point to these companies in the oil industry, and I think it would have a quite serious effect if we could do so. But unfortunately, the world runs because of these companies. Personally I am a http://www.drltestschoolofmotoring.co.uk, so my job relies on the use of a car and fuel to keep me paying for my family. The majority of us use our cars to commute various places, and as much as we would love to cycle, a 30 minute car journey becoming a 2 hour bike ride in the pouring rain doesn't seem the most attractive of propositions to get one over on these companies.


teresa_2
6/28/2010 2:26:55 PM

I won't boycott BP, and I will continue to buy BP gas. Obama won't allow BP to do anything to clean up the oil, not only that but other countries have offered to help and Obama refuses their help. Fisermen have offered to hel and Obama told them no too. The Govenor of LA wanted to put sand on the beaches and again Obama said no..Obama is an idiot. If I didn't know better I think Obama and the WH doesnt want this to be cleaned up. first the coal mine and now the oil spill, don't you think thats strange? Two sources of fuel and accidents in both places. And now there is talk from Obama of letting other countries have our rigs. The American people paied for those rigs and guess who will foot the bill to have these rigs moved to other countries yep the American tax payers.. Teresa Loyal BP Customer


san_1
6/24/2010 1:19:42 PM

If karma holds true, then every one of those blood-sucking SOB's at BP will meet their fate in a manner similar to the destruction they have wrought on the environment. It is not just BP, it is us, Congress, the oil industry and all the other short-sighted greedy vultures that have brought us to this point of dependence on oil. The means are here today to change this, the willingness is not. But if not today, then when? That is why we are here - the willingness has never been there.