May 30, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Last week, Redford endorsed the Fuel Choices for American Security Act http://setamericafree.org/notes/archives/00000066.html, and today he cites the Plug-In Partners campaign as an encouraging development. Kick the Oil Habit, the organization he "announces," does not (yet?) specifically include PHEVs in its policy alternatives http://www.kicktheoilhabit.org/alternative.php.
Special to CNN Tuesday, May 30, 2006:
Commentary: Kicking the oil habit
By Robert Redford
Editor's note: Robert Redford is an award-winning actor, director, producer and founder of the Sundance Institute and Film Festival. Redford also is a businessman and philanthropist and has long supported various environmental causes.
CAPTION: Robert Redford: "America is ready to kick the oil habit."
SUNDANCE, Utah (CNN) -- Today the American people are way out in front of our leaders. We're ready to face our toughest national challenges, and we deserve new and forward-looking solutions and leadership.
The recent surge in gas prices has touched a raw nerve for many around the country, reminding us of an economy that is increasingly uncertain for the middle-class, a growing addiction to oil that draws us ever closer to dictators and despots, and a fragile global position with a climate that is increasingly out of balance. I believe America is ready to kick the oil habit and launch a new movement for real solutions and a better future.
Something is happening all across the country. People are coming together and demanding new answers. A grassroots movement is gathering today to promote solutions, like renewable fuels, clean electricity, more efficient cars, and green buildings that use less energy -- all of which are exciting alternatives that rebuild our communities even as they cut pollution and create good jobs. And, when people come together to invest themselves in building a better future, we are not only helping to solve our energy crisis, but we are taking back our democracy itself.
You can see this change in many places.
In California this November, voters will be offered an initiative that cuts the use of oil by 25 percent and creates new funding to support innovation and cutting edge technology.
Austin, Texas, is leading a growing number of cities in calling for car companies to produce plug-in hybrid vehicles that can go hundreds of miles on a gallon of gas.
New Mexico has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, pledging to reduce its carbon emissions, and at the same time becoming a national leader in creating a state-of-the-art clean energy economy.
In Minnesota they have jump-started a new biofuels industry driven by farmer-owned co-ops that are putting more money back into rural communities and lifting up people's lives.
Cities like Seattle are joining with others around the world and taking on goals for green development, while states like Colorado are passing bond initiatives for transit and new requirements for clean energy.
Recently, a dynamic new campaign launched to seize and grow these opportunities and break our energy dependence. It's called KickTheOilHabit.org, and it has the backing of a diverse coalition of organizations. Its first action was to challenge oil companies to double the number of renewable fuel pumps at their stations within the year and pledge to offer E85 ethanol fuel at half of all gas stations within the decade.
This is a simple clear action that the oil companies can do today. But it is only a first step. Many others are ready to be put in action despite industry claims to the contrary.
In coming months, this campaign, which is based at the Center for American Progress and works with partners from the Natural Resources Defense Council to Consumers Union, MoveOn.org to the Apollo Alliance, will launch new challenges to our elected leaders, but it will also point to good work that is already going on all around the country. It will illuminate efforts on Capitol Hill by those who are concerned about the public good as well as the work of a myriad of grassroots groups effectively pushing innovative technological and public policy solutions alike.
Kick the Oil Habit will bring forth the dynamic narrative of American innovation and inspired thinking. It will give everyone who believes we can free ourselves of our dependence on oil, real solutions which embody real opportunity.
There is so much we can do right now. And there is a new groundswell of good organizing and real world actions that we can take today to make this change a reality. The Campaign to Kick the Oil Habit is one way to connect to this growing movement. I hope you will join in transforming the face of America and in working to leave a better world for all of our children. I hope you will join me in signing on to this growing campaign at KickTheOilHabit.org.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer. This article is part of a series of occasional opinion pieces on CNN.com that will offer a broad range of perspectives that express a variety of thoughts and points of view.