By Bob Difley
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman published a letter in his column last week written by a friend of his and published in his friend’s local newspaper. As he stated, the writer makes a good point, which I repeat here.
“I’d like to join in on the blame game that has come to define our national approach to the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This isn’t BP’s or Transocean’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s my fault. I’m the one to blame and I’m sorry. It’s my fault because I haven’t digested the world’s in-your-face hints that maybe I ought to think about the future and change the unsustainable way I live my life. If the geopolitical, economic, and technological shifts of the 1990s didn’t do it; if the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 didn’t do it; if the current economic crisis didn’t do it; perhaps this oil spill will be the catalyst for me, as a citizen, to wean myself off of my petroleum-based lifestyle. ‘Citizen’ is the key word. It’s what we do as individuals that count. For those on the left, government regulation will not solve this problem. Government’s role should be to create an environment of opportunity that taps into the innovation and entrepreneurialism that define us as Americans. For those on the right, if you want less government and taxes, then decide what you’ll give up and what you’ll contribute. Here’s the bottom line: If we want to end our oil addiction, we, as citizens, need to pony up: bike to work, plant a garden, do something. So again, the oil spill is my fault. I’m sorry. I haven’t done my part. Now I have to convince my wife to give up her S.U.V. Mark Mykleby.”
I would add to his statement “we, as citizens, need to pony up,” that using your RV more, not less, might satisfy that request. Living–or spending more time–in your RV you will use less energy (fossil fuels) than you would in your home, which requires much more energy to heat, cool, light, and tend the lawns, than your RV. Because moving our rigs around is the largest use of fossil fuel energy, we can lower our fuel consumption by reducing speed, driving less, choosing destinations that are closer together, and staying longer at each campground.
That plan also has its side benefits: a more stress-free trip between campgrounds, slower speed will enable you to see more as you travel, to have the time to visit interesting sites along the way, by reducing the amount of time driving you increase the amount of time actually camping, and you will have a chance to learn more about the area you are in when you stay longer.
If you are fulltimer and/or boondocker, where you provide much of your own energy (solar panels, wind turbine) you will achieve an even larger reduction in your fossil fuel usage.
And though you gain all these benefits, you can also feel good about yourself because you are helping to reduce the amount of fossil fuels and energy that you use–a win-win combo for both your RV lifestyle and for the country.
Learn more about boondocking and saving money on the road with my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck.