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Editorial - March 19, 2000 by Royce Carlson

North American Gas Out!

Have you received the e-mail promoting the North American Gas Out on April 7-9, 2000? I have, at least a couple of times, in the last few weeks. If you havenít heard of it yet, it is a three-day boycott of gasoline that is supposed to influence the government and oil companies to lower gas prices which have risen quite a bit over the last few months.

Do I think it is an effective way to lower gas prices? No, I donít.

I believe that most participants in this temporary boycott will simply gas up their cars the day before the strike, drive as usual during the weekend, and then gas up again when itís over. The net result: almost no reduction in fuel consumption. Are the oil companies going to be hurt by this? I donít think so. 

I don't believe lower gas prices are necessarily a good thing. What we should be boycotting is gas-guzzling vehicles. Americans, in particular, have been buying larger and larger vehicles over the last 10 years. This has to change. Toward the effort of fuel efficiency or alternative fuels, high gas prices are good.. The higher the price the stronger the impetus will be to produce more efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles and it will get us thinking more seriously about our use of a finite resource.

Do I believe the Gas Out is worth participating in? Absolutely yes! Hereís why.

The Gas Out is an example of Internet political organizing at its most accessible. Without going to meetings or expensive advertising millions of people can coordinate their actions for a powerful group effect. Now, although I believe the Gas Out is a little like telekinetic spoon bending (interesting but bent spoons arenít worth anything), it is a good exercise. It can show us the power of Internet organizing in a very visible way.

We can exercise this "muscle" and show ourselves that we have the power to change things. It is surprising what a small, organized group of vocal people can do, especially when it comes to stopping particular corporations and industries from going too far in their greed. Big businesses absolutely hate bad press and, if they get enough negative media attention, they will change what they are doing. We have the power to do this together. We are even more empowered by using this new communication tool (the Web) to coordinate our efforts.

On a non-material level, those of us who believe in the spiritual power of coordinated group meditation and invocation can use the Internet to organize these efforts as well. The "moment of silence" on New Yearís day and "Drumming in the New Year" are examples of global events coordinated on the World Wide Web. Although the effects of this kind of organizing wonít be as visible as the political action events, they may still be very effective over all in unseen ways.

So, when April 6th comes around, gas up your car and donít buy any gas until April 10th. Letís see what happens. Letís see what kind of effect we can have in this coordinated effort. And next time we can try it together on something else. For example, I just got some news about the dangers of gMBH in milk. This is a bovine growth hormone fed to dairy cows that may be harmful to humans. A boycott of the milk containing these hormones can effectively change the way these companies work. Visit www.notmilk.com for more information.

Itís easy to share this kind of information. Cut and paste this article into an e-mail (you have our permission to copy it) and send it to everyone on your e-mail list or, even easier, you can send a link to this article (www.zenzibar.com/articles/ed-3-19.htm) to your mailing list.

There are many possibilities and many worthy causes to act on. With the help of Internet communication technology we can organize to make a difference. Visit Zenzibarís Politics Category to find out about how you can participate in political action. Letís make some positive changes!

Royce Carlson - editor at Zenzibar Alternative Culture - www.zenzibar.com

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