Monday, April 23 , 2018, 10:40 am | Fog/Mist 58º


Lee Rosenberg: In Drive Against Oil, Opponents’ Energy Should First Be Directed at Themselves

Congratulations to Katie Davis for assembling a volunteer corps and securing signatures on her petition for the November ballot. It’s a hard job and, if successful, will be very rewarding to her and her group.

Lee Rosenberg
Lee Rosenberg

However, I am deeply concerned that Ms. Davis has gone off the end of the extreme position on oil, oil extraction methods and all manner of things related to oil, as she sees it.

Unfortunately for Ms. Davis and her petition, there is a reality that she ignores. There may be some truth in the claim that oil extraction and piping has a deleterious effect on the environment. I suspect she would say the same of coal and other subterranean evils such as lead, that are in use by individuals and industries that number in the thousands.

But, gee, fossil fuels are used to fuel cars (she drives one) and airplanes (she flies in them), power electricity plants (is her house lit by candles), and heat homes (I suppose it’s very chilly in Katie’s house).

They are also used to make medicines, cosmetics, plastics, synthetic fabrics and lubricants. Does Katie use eye shadow or wear Spandex?

Sunglasses, tires, tennis balls and TVs are all products of oil and gas. Next time someone in her family is playing basketball with friends, think about the ball they’re dribbling. You guessed it: the rubber to make that ball came from oil.

Does she write with a plastic pen, or cook over a gas stove, or does she use Vaseline or petroleum jelly for various medical purposes? I have left out dozens of uses Katie and her numerous outraged volunteers use in their daily lives — all derivatives of oil.

I wonder, too, if hers is not a case of hysterical hypocrisy?

If you haven’t guessed it, I grind my teeth when ridiculous, all-encompassing initiatives are launched that go only one way. They tear down, tear apart, attack, demean and demonize. They create madding crowds of followers who haven’t a clue about the realities and have not one creative idea. Full of hypocrisy, they march on all of us, stamping their feet like children, howling nonsense and loving that  they belong to a cause. In fact, it’s that belonging, that connection that strengthens their resolve.

It would be fair for Katie to ask what I would do. Yup, I have an answer.

In a better world than this, the energy of all the Katies and their followers could be used for creative and constructive purposes. It’s a lot easier to tear down than to build up. Perhaps we could encourage Katie to get down and dirty and work with federal and state governments that are subsidizing research, subsidizing entrepreneurs and all manner of effort to find alternatives to oil and Katie’s evil subterranean grime that most of the world — and Katie — uses for many thousand purposes.

If there isn’t an obvious better way than the one we worship today, how about giving our all to find one? It also helps to be realistic; first, about what we would do without oil today. Second, how long it will take to find an alternative and wean ourselves off oil along with thousands of industries that make up a large part of the world’s economy. Third, in that interim period, what can we do to enhance and accelerate that weaning process?

If we simply punish those drillers upon whom we have come to depend, that doesn’t do much good. In fact we shoot our feet full of holes. It’s ourselves who should be punished for leaning so heavily on them for many of the luxuries we enjoy. By imposing a negative and all-inclusive mandate on extraction methods in Santa Barbara County, we simply reach for more expensive supplies elsewhere and that money goes out of the county. That elsewhere includes sources that exist in unstable countries with unstable governments to whom we become slavish beggars. At the very least, by tapping the enormous resources of our county and our country, we become independent of that external reliance.

So, Katie, I would greatly enjoy hearing from you and your followers regarding all this. If what you say makes any sense, I will be the first to apologize for my sins. Otherwise, please abandon your nonsensical and unrealistic initiative.

Oh, and by the way, I use solar energy for all electricity in my home and I drive an all-electric car that fills its battery at my home with solar energy.

— Lee Rosenberg is a Santa Ynez resident, founder and president of the Vineyard Valley Theatre Company and a retired entertainment industry executive. The opinions expressed are his own.

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