Moving Wisconsin Beyond Oil through Clean Transportation:
As our oil supply decreases, our dependence becomes more and more risky. Everyday, we spend $1 billion overseas on oil that could be reinvested in our own economy. This includes countries that are listed as having "long term, protected conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable," including Iraq, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.
Moving Beyond Oil:
With decreasing supply, oil is becoming harder to find and we are going to extremes to get it, including deep into the sea, threatening wildlife refuges, and destroying forests in Canada. Until we can kick our addiction, we will continue to go to great lengths to get every last drop of oil.
We saw the problems associated with offshore oil drilling on Earth Day of 2010 with the worst oil spill in our history; drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge will likely result in a similar travesty. At the same time, the cost of importing oil from the Middle East has it's own share of problems.
Stopping Tar Sands Development:
Tar sands oil is a dangerous and carbon-intensive way to extract oil from sand. In Wisconsin, a lot of our gasoline comes from tar sands oil. As a result, we must fight harder to reduce our dependence on the dirty oil source. Click here to learn more about tar sands oil.
The answer is not the best form of oil, but to reduce the amount of oil we use.
Driving less and using alternative transportation options not only reduces the demand on oil, but is much more environmentally friendly for other reasons. Vehicle emissions are the fastest growing source of and responsible for almost a third of the country's contribution to global climate change.
Additionally, vehicles emit nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and other chemicals that threaten our health by contributing to asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascuar diseases.
Pubic Transit in the City:
Using transit for daily commutes and errands in the city has immense benefits. According to the American Public Transit Association, a single person, commuting alone by car, who switches a 20-mile round-trip commute to transit, can reduce his or her annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year! Aside from the environmental benefits, using mass transit systems saves money and headaches! Click here to learn more about the benefits of taking transit, including how a transit system in your community benefits!
Intercity and Regional Transit:
Want to make your tip less hectic, more environmentally-friendly, and more fun? Use transit! Taking a train or bus for trips between cities and even for interstate travel is much less costly than driving a car or flying and more fun! You can view the scenery, get work done with the wi-fi Amtrak offers, and more! You also don't have to go through stressful security processes. Click here to learn about the benefits of the proposed Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul high-speed rail.
Biking and Walking:
Both biking and walking have all the benefits listed above and more! As with transit, they drastically reduce your carbon footprint and really help the pocketbook, especially as we see gas increase to $4 a gallon! Biking can also economically boost your community as well; click here to learn more. More so, they are good for your health! Click here to learn about the many benefits of biking to work/school and how you can start next week!
Electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt, are the cleanest independent vehicle. It is powered by batteries that are charged using the electrical grid. Therefore, it doesn't use any oil, and has 35-60% less CO2 emissions than a gas-powered vehicle. Soon, we will be able to charge electric vehicles on solar panels and the emissions will be zero! Click here to learn more about electric vehicles!
Key Beyond Oil Policies:
We need policies that support transit, make funding possible, and provide for sidewalks and bike lanes.
Proper Funding: Transit needs to be funded at the federal, state, and local levels. In Wisconsin transit funding has been slashed and attack to make room for out-of-control highway spending. Click here to learn about the current state budget proposal and the '10% Solution'.
Complete Streets: Complete streets is a program that requires some or all roads to include sidewalks and bike lanes. These streets are accessible no matter which way one chooses to travel. Click here to learn more about complete streets.
Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs): RTAs are tools that allow regions, such as counties or areas, to use a small sales tax (such as .005%) to pay for transit systems. Click here to learn about the threats to RTAs in Wisconsin.
Responsible Road Projects: In order to end the continuous sprawl, road projects need to be assessed on necessity and options for alternatives. Constant road construction and 'upgrades' leads to excessive highway building and more sprawl. To learn more about National Sierra Club's program to reduce sprawl and unnecessary highways, click here. To learn more about proposed highway projects in Wisconsin, click here.
- Stay Informed! with our Facebook and Twitter pages.
- Write a Letter-to-the-Editor about the need to move beyond oil! Click here to learn about tips forwriting a letter-to-the-editor!
- Volunteer with the Sierra Club! Contact Elizabeth Ward at (608)256-0565 or e-mail for information about joining the Beyond Oil team.