With over 1,100 participants and counting since its inception a week ago, a virtual march on Washington – a boycott of all gas purchases on July 4th – is quickly gathering steam.
Sparked by a desire to protest the Gulf Coast oil spill and the policies and practices that caused the disaster, the July 4th event, called “TRUE Independence Day,” began as a Facebook event by a handful of concerned citizens who are calling on participants to do one small and simple act: Don’t buy gas for one day.
“This is not about buying less gas. That’s not realistic for most people, because we are stuck in a system that forces us to use a lot of oil in our lives,” said Rebecca Hersh, one of the organizers of the protest. “This is about making a statement to our political leaders and the oil companies that we are here, we are paying attention, and we want to change the way things are done. We want clean energy policy, a restored Gulf coast, and a healthy sustainable future for our children.”
“So many of us have been feeling so helpless and hopeless as we watch the news of the devastation on the Gulf Coast,” said Matthew Brian Hersh, Ms. Hersh’s brother and another event organizer. “We want this day to be a symbolic declaration of freedom from oil addiction.”
“We understand that everyone is complicit, from the government and the oil industry all the way down to the consumer and the small businesspeople,” Mr. Hersh continued. “This isn’t about hurting the ‘mom and pop’ gas stations. People who want to participate can buy their gas the day before or the day after. This about saying that the mess in the Gulf is unacceptable, we’re frustrated and angry, and that Americans demand a change in energy policy. Administration after administration has promised to rein in oil dependence, but we’ve seen very little progress.”
The Facebook event, created last week, is rapidly gaining steam, and includes over 1,100 participants as of June 17. A website has also been launched: http://cleanenergypolicy.wordpress.com/