Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Is Your Trip Necessary?"

During World War II, that was the heading of a ubiquitous poster that urged energy conservation for the war effort. Is it time for a reissue?

With airlines cutting back schedules and Americans starting to drive less because of soaring gasoline prices, rethinking travel habits may be the best and simplest solution of all. In crowded terminals and road jams, the question always arises, "Where are all these people going and why?"

Lest this seem like a retrograde answer, cutting back is not the only kind of behavior change that a crisis can precipitate.

In his always fascinating New York Times Freakonomics blog, Stephen J. Dubner writes about "Crisis as the Mother of Invention," citing as one example Brazil's booming sugar ethanol industry:

"During the 1970’s oil embargo, Brazil was so worried about its energy future that it devoted itself to building a sugar ethanol industry, and it worked. Again, without the crisis, it is likely that Brazil would have continued down the same oil-dependent path as other nations."

In this year when Change is the political mantra, why limit it to politicians? Are our own habits set in stone?

1 comment:

GiromiDe said...

Businesses should consider fostering cultures that encourage telecommuting. Not only does it save gas and time, it also increases quality of life. As more dads try to break from the mold of "work, retire, enjoy family," this trend should be on the rise.