Sunday, May 2, 2010

Addicted to Oil

Reason # 1,389 I have been trying to wean my family from petroleum based products and use greener more environmentally friendly products: 


If you have been living under a rock and have no idea what I'm talking about, let me fill you in. On April 22, an offshore drilling rig operated by British Petroleum or BP exploded and is currently gushing immeasurable amounts of oil into our oceans. Let's set aside the fact the deep ocean drilling is irresponsible and dangerous, but rumor has it, BP suggested that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill -- and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals -- was unlikely, or virtually impossible and in declaring such, had absolutely no plan "B" if something were to happen. Well lookey here BP, the impossible has happened. And instead of admitting their mistakes, BP is quick to point the finger at the workers on the rig, contracted by Transocean, claiming they failed to improperly cap the well which of course, Transocean denies.

Does it really matter at this point? There are more than nine million gallons of crude already in the ocean and more is added every day.The Gulf of Mexico is is one of the most significant life-sustaining ecosystems on earth. This disaster threatens to destroy the ecosystem that exists there, as well as all of the human industries that thrive in the region, like fishing and tourism. This is a disaster, and I think it is being greatly downplayed by the media. Pardon my French but this is serious shit. Our planet NEEDS oceans. WE need oceans. Oceans influence the climate by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide and by regulating our oxygen. What's going to happen if our ocean is filled with oil? This is nothing short of a catastrophe.

So let's say they get this under control. Unlikely, but let's pretend.  They cap the well, the oil stops and we get this cleaned up. What will happen next? According to William Dietrich, novelist and Pulitzer prize winning journalist, nothing will change. He thinks that eventually there will be investigations, some kind of Congressional legislative reform, and -- if the spill is costly enough -- an overhaul of BP management. A slap on the hand. Technology will take a stride ahead and things might get a bit safer, for a while.But the threat will remain, vigilance will relax, and risks will run higher as the world gets more desperate for oil and drills in ever more inaccessible places.

We have so many options. All Americans have access to sun and wind. Why haven't we been making more effort to find alternative energy sources? What have we done? Dietrich warns that until we make real strides in weaning from fossil fuels -- which, incidentally, would help save the climate, save the oceans, and get us less entangled in endless wars --we should all be scared for what the future holds. I for one couldn't agree more.


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