To end the use of gasoline in the U.S. by the year 2040.
A world where the cultural norm is the avoidance of all unnecessary carbon use and where the desire to live cleanly beats strongly within people’s hearts.
Gasoline and fossil fuels have been at the root of our civilization’s raging force and its power structure for the past 100 years. Our dependence on it is powerful. We are comfortable with the gasoline status quo while willfully ignorant of its impact on our health and environment.
Now, we must, as individuals and as a people, purge gasoline from our lives to assure our survival. Artists are essential in making us face this existential challenge. The artist spurs our desire to remove gasoline from our lives. She questions our feelings about fossil fuels. She shines light and laughter on the filth that gasoline connects us to. She inspires us to reject gasoline, to separate from it, to seek an alternative to it. Coltura artists undermine the gasoline-fueled lifestyle and render gasoline unsexy and uncool in the public mind.
The artist can do what the bureaucrat, the economist, the politician cannot–alter consumer tastes, desires and perception, and generate desire to avoid fossil fuels and the gasoline-powered car.
by Matthew Metz, Founder and Executive Director
My children, ages 22, 19, and 8, motivated me to start Coltura. I looked at them and wondered about the planet they were inheriting. Would the animals my 8-year-old loves still be on it when she is my age? Would our planet even be livable for them and their children? What could I do about it?
I first looked at my own life to see what I personally could do to lessen the problem. Like most people, much of my family’s CO2 output came from our gas-powered cars. I changed out my gas cars with electric ones. It was easy to do, and drastically reduced my family’s carbon output, without changing our lifestyle.
I noticed, however, that my friends, also ardent environmentalists, were still buying gas cars, along with 99.4% of the public. People just don’t connect their actions with their beliefs about Climate Change. It’s not their fault—American culture is still oriented towards gasoline, and those cultural patterns are hard to break.
I started asking what would it take for those patterns to shift.
History gave me a lot of hope. American culture and attitudes have changed rapidly on many occasions with respect to smoking, littering, gender, homosexuality, and race. Those changes didn’t start with the government, they came from the people, when people began changing the meanings they assigned to their actions and words. Smoking, for example, once emblematic of cool, transformed into a symbol of nasty illness and bad smells.
Coltura was founded to change cultural attitudes with respect to gasoline. Our goal is to end the use of gasoline in the U.S. by 2040. Why gasoline? Because it is a cause of up to half of our carbon emissions, and the cause of many cancers and lung ailments. Because we now have substitutes for it and can live without it. Because we can control what we buy. Because it will bring about the end of an industry terribly destructive to our environment, our health, and our political system.
To change our culture, we need to use the tools that shape of culture—performance, art, music, and discussion–to awaken and feed people’s desire for living clean, for taking responsibility for the planet. These tools have been used successfully in other contexts. In Bogota, Colombia, a mayor transformed the city by using performers, symbolic actions, and other shots of culture to change the way people viewed and treated themselves and one another.
But changing the meaning of gasoline isn’t enough. People also want to know how they can do it. Coltura encourages people makes plans to get off gasoline, and helps them surpass obstacles that get in their way.
Coltura’s message is simple. Gasoline is dirty. We can live without it. It’s on us to make the change. Here’s how we can do it.
The planet is in peril, and each of us an important role to play in preserving it. We can’t leave it to the political system to fix the problem, nor can we just hope that a technological miracle will bail us out. We have to do it ourselves—cut our pollution, and make it socially unacceptable to pollute unnecessary.
We can get off gasoline. Really. Let’s start now.
Coltura has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Donations are typically tax-deductible, but please contact your tax professional to be sure.
Coltura is incorporated as a Washington nonprofit organization.