Yesterday my dear friend Jill Nussinow (a wonderful cook, writer, and vegetarian nutrition expert, aka The Veggie Queen) sent me a great link. It seems that Lynne McTaggart, journalist and author of top-selling books The Field and The Intention Experiment, has also blogged lately about the Gulf oil disaster and the importance of cutting our use of petroleum. In her post of July 2nd, she unveiled lyrics to a new song fashioned after Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."
McTaggart's version, called "50 Ways to Leave Crude Oil," includes this chorus:
"Just take the train back, Jack
Get rid of the van, Stan
You don't need a new toy, Roy
Or an SUV
Hop on the bus, Gus
Or ride your bike like the Dutch
Just turn off the key, Lee
And set us all free."
I love this! I'm not sure I could find a better lyrical representation of what Divorce Your Car! is all about, even down to specific sections of the book: "Just take the train back, Jack" – see pp. 167-169; "Hop on the bus, Gus" – see pp. 169-170; "Or ride your bike like the Dutch" -- see Chapter 12; "Just turn off the key, Lee, and set us all free" – the whole book, really, and especially Part 3.
In her post, McTaggart also lists ways we can "leave" crude oil. She suggests, for instance, "Whenever you go to use your car, think first: do I really need to drive?" This is a great question, and another topic touched on in Divorce Your Car! It came up in Chapter 17, which suggests developing a transportation menu – a term I first heard from Phil Smith, at that time the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator in Missoula, Montana.
A transportation menu is essentially a list of all the ways you might get from point A to point B. A simple thing, but useful because we need reminders of how many petroleum-free or car-free ways we have to get around. Just making such a list can help us snap out of the "married-to-the-car" mindset, the idea that any time you take a trip it means getting into a car. Can you bike? Walk? Take transit? Share a ride? Access what you need by phone or Internet? Kayak to work like commuters in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and probably other locales? Maybe use inline skates? For long-distance travel, take Amtrak? These options can all go on the list.
A transportation menu, then, helps remind us of all our non-car transportation choices, and it can be used in conjunction with the question above. Here's a version of how to do that (adapted from Divorce Your Car!, p. 225):
When it comes time to use your transportation menu, ask a few key questions:
The book goes on to talk about moving to locations that support carfree living, as well as simplifying and slowing down to drive less and consume less oil. Add this to Lynne McTaggart's list, and you have many more than 50 ways to leave behind crude oil and our whole dysfunctional marriage to cars and oil. Seeing the number of writers and thinkers now chiming in on this theme gives me hope we are nearing a tipping point. These ideas may well be infusing the fields McTaggart writes about in her books, swelling our collective intent to truly change. My hope is that as more of us embrace the simple but beneficial ways of living better with less petroleum, they will gain power, leading us to recover from oil addiction and heal our way of life.