Sounds familiar to you? It certainly does to me.
So when we get called hypocrites, we have to ask are they right? After all hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more laudable opinions or beliefs than is the case. So if you drive a car but you are against the oil and gas industry then that means that you are a hypocrite, right?
I support an oil-free future in the long term and I agree that we need to divest from oil exploration in the short term. Ultimately, I believe in moving away from a fossil fuel dependent economy towards a sustainable and more environmentally-responsible economy.
What underpins my standpoint is the reality of man-made climate change, and the need for man-made societal change. However, there are people out there who would want me to believe that unless I am able to live my life, run my household, and raise my kids without utilising any products of our oil-dependent society, I have no right to demand anything different.
They say to do so would mean that I am a hypocrite. Right?
Most of the people making this kind of absurd allegation really don’t care about a genuine response. It is only a tactic to shut us down!
Unsurprisingly, many of these same people refuse to acknowledge that we are changing our climate and that mankind is in fact responsible for the change to our climate. As a result they reject the responsibility that we all share about doing something about it, and to stop whatever we are doing that damages it.
So this article is not for them, this is for you and me, and many like us. This is to tell you that it is ok to drive your car, even if you are dead against the oil and gas industry.
To call for an oil-free future is to genuinely acknowledge the challenge of man-made climate change and ask, “Where do we go from here? What can we do to change the status quo?"
If you support an oil-free future and want to see alternatives taking its place, when you are really passionate about it, there will always be people who will fight you and others like you, period!!!! Itcomes with the territory.
The more threatened they are by ourcombined actions, the more defensive they become and the more desperate they are to shut allof us down, saying in their own minds and sometimes even to ourface: - “Unless you are some kind of a “Saint and holier than Thou”- never put a foot wrong ever – I am not interested in your beliefs, and I have no intention tolisten to you, or to even entertain your ideas.”
How convenient for them!
The truth is that no matter which way you turn, the reality of our oil extraction-dependent society is everywhere:- in your car, your TV, your phone, your makeup, your takeaway dinner packaging, your new shoes, your kid’s toys, etc.
You may say - what's the use of fighting? it is just too much! Maybe, we should really just give up this fight. It’s too pervasive, too complicated, and too hard to fight.
No. It isn’t.
We all have a right to demand alternatives to the only choices we all have currently.
Do not be discouraged or shamed by people who say you cannot live in a society with all "its so called benefits" and at the same time, you want to change how that same society is organised. Calling for a change is not hypocritical. It is the only rational thing to do.
The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists tells us that the problem is very real, it is happening, and if we do not change, it will only get worse. If we do not lower our carbon emissions, and replace our dependence on fossil fuels with alternatives that do not poison our atmosphere and endanger the delicate balance of our ecosystems, it will indeed get much worse in the not so far future.
What we are fighting for, when we call for an oil-free future, is progress towards a cleaner future. We want the call for progress to translate into action. We want the investment that is currently motivating and keeping unsustainable extraction industries to be diverted into solutions that move us toward a more sustainable fuel and energy for our society. We want policies that transition us to a fossil-free future. We want more investment in sustainable transport infrastructure for example, so that we can have alternatives to fuel driven cars.
This is why it is OK for you to be anti-oil and to drive your car.
Because you are part of a movement of people who want change! Who want alternatives! Who want to change the grim trajectory we are hurtling along right now!
Next time you are confronted with these types of attitudes, and you get in your car to attend a meeting, do a workshop or attend a protest against the oil industry, don’t feel guilty. You have no need to feel guilty!
Instead attend more meetings, workshops; or protests were you are fighting for a cleaner future free from oil.
But at the end of the day ... it is up to you, what you do and how you do it. You may drive in a mini-bus full of people or you could just join a group of cyclists, go by bus, by train, walk, skateboard, paraglide ... or just go in a horse and kart.
But whatever you do, don’t be shut down, and stop fighting for what you know is right. Because, then you would really be a hypocrite. After all the other meaning of hypocrisy, is believing in something, and not doing anything to achieve it!