Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oil Spill in the Gulf (May 2010)

Published Letter to Seattle Times, May 3 2010 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/northwestvoices/2011770408_oilspillingulfofmexicogetsmessy.html

Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico gets messy

Editor, The Times:
The spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico ought to make us rethink more than just the wisdom of expanding offshore oil drilling. It should make us rethink our dependence on petroleum in general [“Underwater oil gusher a crisis no one imagined,” page one, May 1].

This latest environmental disaster should open our eyes to the damage our oil addiction is making. Not only does our oil dependence prop up autocratic, unfriendly regimes, it fouls up our own nest.

Tens of thousands of us die prematurely due to the air pollution associated with automobiles. Tens of thousands more die in car accidents. More important, we endanger future generations by generating greenhouse gases that are pushing the planet toward an inhospitable, ice-free state.

As if those aren’t enough reasons, consider how our society is organized around the assumption that oil will always be cheap and readily available, though independent geologists warn us that we are close to the peak of global oil production.

The Department of Defense estimates that surplus oil-production capacity could entirely disappear by 2012. That means a future of high gas prices and increasing international tension over remaining supplies.

We could be planning a future based on walkable communities and electrified public transit. Instead, we close our eyes to the damage oil does to the environment and ignore the future, wildlife and future generations be damned.

— Colin Wright, Seattle

No comments: