Reclaim the Commons
Back in the 70’s, America had a little oil shortage problem when the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Companies (OAPEC) cut us off. The facts are convoluted — a Arab-Israeli war beginning in October 1973, called the Yom Kippur war, the backing of Israel by the U.S. which OPAEC didn’t like, our gluttonous consumption of cheap ($3/barrel) oil, all congealed to lead to the first Energy Crisis. Oil hiked up to $12/barrel then and driving was no longer good cheap fun. Our domestic production of oil was way down and we didn’t know whether the embargo would send us into a tailspin so President Jimmy Carter mandated that we could only fill our cars every other day based on whether your license plate ended in an odd or even number. The embargo ended in March 1974, and while the crisis took longer to pass, a few amazing things happened because of it. America was a little more environmentally aware and conservation conscious. People shut off lights when they left rooms; driving around aimlessly was no longer encouraged; leaded gas began its slow phaseout; and Detroit started making more eco-friendly cars. A smallish environmental movement, a kinder, gentler green life was suddenly in vogue.