Breaking Up with Fossil Fuels
It’s not us. It’s you.
WORLD: Thanks for the card. . . . But I think we need to talk.
FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY: About what?
W: About us.
FFI: About us?? Can’t it wait until some other time? This is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve made plans for us. Big plans.
W: No, I think we need to get some things out in the open.
FFI: What “things”?
W: It’s our relationship. I think it’s become toxic. I don’t know, maybe it’s always been that way and I just didn’t realize.
FFI: I can’t believe you’re saying this! Or that you picked NOW of all times to bring it up. What about those Spring days in the convertible with the top down, or the roaring coal furnace on cold winter nights.
W: I felt you had tremendous energy in those days. You had a big vision, and you were really taking my life to a new place. But now, I don’t know how to say this, but . . .
FFI: You might as well spit it out!
W: I feel like I just can’t breathe. Like the air is getting worse and worse around me. And I feel like my whole state of being is out of whack.
FFI: Wait a minute, are you seeing someone else? Is it Solar or Wind?
W: No, I’m not serious about either of them, but I do feel like I want to see more of them and see where things go.
FFI: Ha! Believe me! They’re just on-again/off-again – they’re not there for you 24/7 like I am.
W: But it’s not really them. I just started realizing that people call you “fossil” fuels for reason. Our relationship is starting to feel fossilized. I don’t want to go the way of the dinosaurs.
FFI: Oh for Pete’s sake! So you’re going to throw me on the scrap heap?
W: No, no, it’s not that. I just feel that I’ve outgrown our relationship. I’m sorry. You haven’t changed, but I’m ready to move on.
FFI: Wait! I can clean up my act! Haven’t you heard the President talk about “clean, beautiful coal”?
W: Oh FFI. I’m afraid it’s too late for that.
FFI: Don’t leave now! My life is over without you.
W: I know this is hard. It’s hard for me too. But you have to face the fact that the fire has gone out of our relationship. Sorry, there’s no point in talking more. Anyway, I have to go now; it’s getting too hot and smoky in here. I need fresh air. [Quietly exits].
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more