My husband and I awoke to the news that BP Plc is preparing for a key procedure to replace the containment cap over its blown-out Macondo well, which could temporarily cause more oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico. This provoked a long and thoughtful discussion about global warming and what additional steps we can take to reduce out own dependency on oil.
Richard has published two though provoking articles in response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and NASA photos depicting the effects of global warming around the globe. The first is titled Our addiction to oil: The cost in pictures and the second is titled Oil slick around Mississippi barrier islands. They provided much food for thought and evoked distress about how little governments, including our own Canadian government, are doing to address the issues and stop subsidizing the oil and gas industry.
The need to kick our addiction to fossil fuels as soon as possible is before us and “in our faces” so to speak. But is it possible to energize people the world over to embrace the green energy changes be made, without evoking the fear that arises from accidents like the Exxon Valdez and now the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
Images are so powerful and can become motivators for change. When my husband and I viewed the images by AP Photographer Charlie Riedel of seabirds caught in the oil slick on a beach on Louisiana’s East Grand Terre Island we were heartsick.
As BP engineers began their efforts to cap the underwater flow of oil, we feared our federal government, which is in bed with big business, might lift the moratorium and allow off shore oil drilling permits do even more tankers would be transporting oil up and down the Canadian coastline and increasing the risk of blow outs and spills. But on May 21st, 2010 Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice said that the moratorium on offshore oil development in B.C. won’t be lifted any time soon, especially in the wake of the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico B.C. offshore drilling moratorium stays: Prentice
The National Wildlife Federation has also released a powerful video titled Crude Awakening: BP Oil Spill/NWF Spec PSA. It was made as an unsolicited donation to the organization and drives home the impact of the BP oil spill on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico by depicting a young woman’s perfect world consumed by oil.
Chicago-based Jane Fulton photographed more than a dozen people drenched in an oil-like substance while standing on local beaches. “When I started to photograph, people would come up and ask if they could be involved,” she said. “The pictures just flowed.” Fulton worked temporarily as a clinical social worker in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and says she can’t forget the wrenching photographs of oil-drenched birds. Crude Awakening (15 photos)
I believe it’s reasonable to expect our governments to ensure that industry complies with the laws of our land and to strengthen them. I believe we must insist regulatory oversight be put into place to protect the environment and must be stringently enforced. I believe maintaining oil as a energy resource and relying on oil based economies only serves to keep some people rich at the cost of the environment and the future ability of our beautiful planet to meet the needs of its inhabitants.
We must rid ourselves of the faulty economic model referred to as the three legged stool and the governance model founded upon it. The environment is grounds for all and without it we have nothing.
The fact that our western culture has placed a higher priority on economic growth than it does on environmental health can explain much of the present deteriorating state in which we find the environment and thus ourselves.
Will we ever understand our place on this planet and choose to live within the limits set by the biosphere? Perhaps, but not by using the “three legs of the stool” as a model for sustainable development. Why? Because it continues to place us [humans and our activities] outside those limits. And while we may be able to think outside the limits, we cannot live outside the limits. — Neil K. Dawe & Kenneth L. Ryan in The Faulty Three-Legged-Stool Model of Sustainable Development (PDF)
Motivated by the images the reality of the risks,and failures and our fear of worse yet to come, we must all live up to our personal responsibility to reduce our oil dependency in every way that we can. In this regard, Sandra Lee recently published an informative article titled Reducing your oil use saying, in part:
In the wake of recent disasters you too may be reconsidering the wisdom of an oil-based lifestyle. Petroleum derived products are all pervasive in our culture. To help you out, I’ve compiled a short list of ways to reduce oil dependence. Since you’ve probably already taken the most obvious steps, they are last on the list. Suggestions for digging deeper and fine-tuning are included first.
After a careful reading and re-reading of her article, I recognized that despite the many changes my husband and I have still have more changes to make.
Tragic events like the Exxon Valdez and the BP oil spill make it clear that it’s time for our governments and their oil and gas industry puppet masters to stop tinkering with energy policies, destroying the environment we all depend upon for survival and change our energy strategy – now.
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- Gulf Coast Disaster – Morning News Roundup, July 9 (switchboard.nrdc.org)
- Gulf Oil Spill Panel to Look at Root Causes (abcnews.go.com)