“Taking Control of Our Lives: The Serenity Prayer & the Chevy Volt” March 2012

Audio for “Taking Control of our Lives”

WAMC
The Serenity Prayer & the Chevy Volt

Like a lot of people I have a wide range of sources I turn to for insights on a successful life. Sure, I went to college — have a bunch of degrees, But in truth I have gotten most of my really helpful principles over the years from two vast reservoirs of wisdom; Star Trek and Mark Twain. But there is one little tidbit that defines almost everything else, a rather old fashioned prayer that used to hang on my dad’s refrigerator.

The serenity prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

A prayer that has been on my mind a lot as I listen to people talk obsessively about the two issues that have dominated public conversation lately The rising price of gasoline and the increasingly odd weather we’re experiencing. And yet were told, can you believe it? That General Motors has temporally suspended production of their revolutionary new Chevy Volt because people are not snapping them up? Are you kidding—- people are not enthusiastically making one of the few really significant decisions we can about our two most popular conversation issues– the rising price of oil, that incredibly useful stuff that contributes so much to our growing extremes of weather.

Sure. Maybe we can’t impact the Iranian government’s apparent desire to go nuclear. And the likelihood that effort will push oil prices even more. And we can hardly do much as individuals about the fact that China, after more than century of stagnation, is finally roaring back to the position of global prominence it has usually held in the human experience –driven by millions of new automobile driving Chinese all competing with us for the world’s petroleum stocks.

And try as some of us might, we can hardly push a frozen political system that sees one party in denial about the unintended climatic consequences of our prolific use of fossil fuels while the other is largely unwilling to speak openly of the dangers even as so many presidential “wannabees” try to convince us that their election will automatically bring down oil prices.

But what we can do is take control of our own lives. Move dramatically to drive more energy safe and efficient automobiles. And yet wander through any public parking lot and the percentage of more fuel efficient hybrid cars remains depressingly low overwhelmed by the surrounding however new, last century vehicles. And that more than fifteen years after commercial hybrids came on the market, plenty of time to have replaced the entire nation’s automobile fleet if people had taken seriously the completely predictable rise of gas prices

Now I am not saying that driving a driving a hybrid does not have its downsides. When I bought one half a dozen years ago- it used gas so efficiently I ran out twice not the car’s fault, I had simply gotten out of the habit of monitoring the gas gauge. And now, in 2012 at least a year into the arrival not of the standard hybrids all of us could have been driving by now but the long awaited and impressive new 21st century automobiles From the Nissan Leaf, an affordable and completely electric car And what I think of as the super hybrid, the Chevy Colt. Both already available complete with impressive tax credits. Two cars I had the pleasure of road testing this week. And yet we hear that GM is suspending production of the Volt because sales have been too low!

Now, the way I see it a great many of us should reflect a lot more deeply on the core message of the serenity prayer instead of just complaining about gas prices or the increasingly strange weather that is so linked to all that petroleum we are burning A take more control over our own lives.

About Steven Leibo

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This entry was posted in American Politics, China, Energy, The Climate Crisis, WAMC Northeast Public Radio Commentaries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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