We watched Syriana last night. I was profoundly moved. It was a little complicated to follow, but reading the movie’s Wikipedia entry just now helped immensely. Even so, unlike some of the critics who found it too cluttered or overly ambitious, I wouldn’t change it a bit: the chaos makes it all the more realistic, and drives home how complex and interwoven the issues surrounding U.S. dependence on foreign oil are. That it fell short of achieving all that it set out to achieve as a film does nothing to diminish what it does achieve: a gripping, nearly overwhelming story about addiction and the lengths to which addicts will go to protect their stash.
Some of the reviews I’ve read criticize the film for not concluding with a specific call to action, but I didn’t feel that lacking. I think most of us know what we can do; it’s the doing that’s a challenge. Beyond the inconveniences of consumer oil awareness, real dramatic change is unlikely. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t push for support of alternative fuels and higher standards for fuel efficiency, or that we shouldn’t care about provisions on the local and regional level for alternative means of transportation, bike lanes, and such; that should all happen. But we probably shouldn’t be surprised when there’s significant push-back from corporations and government. The momentum of the oil machine will be difficult if not impossible to stop.
Still, here’s one small change I made today: I signed up to have an organic Community Supported Agriculture package from Plumgood Food delivered tomorrow. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. (If it’s not immediately clear how this plays into oil dependence, try reading this, this, or this.)
Next step? Karsten and I have been talking for a while about test-driving some hybrids. I plan to play around in Quicken tonight to see if we can afford the payments, and maybe we’ll get around to at least one test-drive this weekend.
After that, I’m not sure. One of the most frustrating limitations is the lack of a safe way to ride my bike to work. Maybe Karsten and I can do some research this weekend — check out a few possible routes. Otherwise, I suspect we’ll make improvements in bits and pieces, mostly.
I’d be interested to hear from others: what you thought of Syriana (if you’ve seen it), what you thought of An Inconvenient Truth (if you’ve seen it), whether you’re currently making any efforts to cut down on oil consumption, and if so, what those efforts are, etc.