On the way to Skowhegan for our weekly peace vigil, I was thinking that I needed a new sign.

I was trying to think of a good one. It had to be succinct. We stand there, over the river, while cars travel across the bridge. Drivers can’t slow down to read a sign because that would hold up traffic. I have to find a way to give the message with a few large words that are easy to read from afar in a few seconds.

We have to invent clever advertisements for peace.

One reason why so many people can afford to drive around in nice cars is that there is so much cheap oil. Even when the price goes up, it’s still cheap enough to allow everyone to drive around.

One reason why public transportation isn’t financially feasible is that we’re hooked on cheap oil.

We’re all like addicts. We rob and pillage to satisfy our addiction. We go to war to maintain our supply of oil. We drill in ever and ever more precarious places to get our fix.

We watch our planet heating up more and more but do nothing, like some junkie whose family is being destroyed but who can’t stop taking drugs.

We turn food into fuel while people starve, to get our fix. We cut through the land with pipelines and highways. And yes, we drive to town to stand on the bridge for peace. We all participate in this.

There’s some cycle here. We stand on the bridge to protest the war waged to secure our oil, but we have to tailor our message so that passing cars can read it on the fly.

Abby Shahn

Solon

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