This weekend, Aug. 21-22, has been deemed the Weekend Without Oil. Brought to us by the good folks at, the event aims to educate consumers about the things we can all do to tighten our belts on oil consumption. To participate, you simply sign a pledge to commit to these 11 actions:  

1. Walk or ride your bike

2. Enjoy the outdoors

3. Use reusable bags

4. Be conscious of what you eat

5. Don't buy new makeup

6. Drink tap water

7. Make your electronic gadgets last

8. Avoid buying new movies

9. Avoid buying new clothes

10. Read books and news at the library or online

11. Spread the word

If you're a dedicated greenie, you're probably doing a lot of this stuff anyhow, but committing to it this weekend does serve as a reminder of the impact that we can all have in our day-to-day decisions. It's also a great conversation starter and a way to keep the ideas flowing on how to reduce America's overall dependence on oil. 

And guess what? You don't have to be a perfect greenie to give it a try. I'm going to do it, and I'm probably going to break one of the cardinal rules of the effort: I'm taking my family on a road trip this weekend.  

Let me explain.

When I first heard about the Weekend Without Oil, I thought it sounded like a perfect fit for my family. We really try to do most of these things anyhow, so why not join in a collective effort and use the event as an opportunity to talk to my kids about the ways we can reduce our oil consumption? But then I realized that the event dates coincided with a planned family vacation, and on Sunday that means I'll be taking my family on a road trip from Virginia to North Carolina ... not exactly living up to the pledge to "walk or ride your bike," is it?

I figured I was out before I even got started, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this event could provide a realistic take on my family's efforts to try to live without oil. We try not to buy new stuff, but sometimes soccer camp, a school project, or a scouting event means that I need to buy stuff I would not normally buy. Sometimes I forget my reusable bags at the store. And on rare occasions, I've even been known to purchase a bottle of water when I realized that my reusable bottle did not make it into my travel bag.

It's not like we do road trips every weekend, but we just happened to have one planned for this weekend. So should we just opt out altogether? I don't think so. I think we should still make every effort to live without oil and maybe even try harder in each of the other actions to try to compensate for the driving.

So that's the plan. As you can see, I'm working hard on Action #11 right now. Stay tuned for an update on my family's "Weekend Without Oil: The Road Trip Edition," coming on Monday.

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