12/28/2006 03:24 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Energy Agenda For a Newly Energized Congress (Part V) -- Preaching Energy Conservation From The Bully Pulpit

In a recent news conference shortly before the Christmas holidays the President encouraged the assembled newsmen and those TV viewers throughout the land to "go shopping". This at a moment when sending additional troops to Iraq was the issue of the day. Said in an offhand way, it nonetheless struck a sour chord, as being out of place and out of sync with the nations mood.

Just imagine, instead of urging us to go shopping, he would have said:

"Our situation in Iraq is grave and our soldiers are sacrificing so much. The little we can do this Christmas season in solidarity with them is to make a concerted effort to keep our use of energy to the bare minimum, to learn to live with less, to begin as a national community to make individual efforts to regain our self reliance and our self respect. The price we are paying for our dependency is too high in blood, money and the environments' destruction. Each of us must do our share!"

Our leadership must begin to make us feel personally responsible. If our President won't do so, or simply give mere lip service, it is time for Congress to pick up the reins and make us aware of what we can do as individuals, and what is expected of us as citizens. Not in terms of laws but in personal conduct and responsibility. It is an issue for which the nation is literally crying for leadership. This is the moment that Congress can show us all that it can shed its proclivity to shelter special interests and for once do the right thing for all the nation, most especially so in that after six years, it has become clear that it is an issue beyond the ken of our President and the executive branch.

Let me share with you a letter that was sent to me in response to one of my posts:

...Good morning and happy holidays!..... At this point in time I believe the consumer has to accept full responsibility. Are we simply automatons? Do we always have to have laws and documented policies to know what is right and what is wrong? When it comes to consumption ... whether it is food, alcohol, drugs, things(cars, clothes, toys, etc ...) or energy ... there is a complete lack of understanding as to the ramifications of overindulgence. In other words ... there is little to no common sense to be found amongst our society. Remember a simple physics law ... for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Remember a dated television commercial ... probably from the 1970's ... 'it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature'. If each individual does not take full responsibility for how their level of consumerism affects every aspect of life on our planet now and in its' future I then regret the eventual outcome. It does not take a wizard to understand the concept. No laws, no policies will change society. No laws, no policies will change individual behavior. If I consume less then my negative impact on our planet is lessened. If I consume less energy then I have saved something ... perhaps very small, negligible but I have made a positive effort. I have no children so it is not for their sake. I have no grandchildren so it is not for their sake. It in some small way having respect for our planet, having respect for future generations. My individual beliefs and individual actions are simply knowing right from wrong. It is my very small contribution to try and make this a better place. If every politician, Washington big shot, corporate big wig and every citizen looked to the future with the knowledge of right and wrong perhaps we could change things. Thank you for making me think.
P.M. Westfield, MA

It is time, long past due, to respect our planet not only for our sake, but most importantly for future generations. Congress, the bully pulpit is yours!