There are a lot of important issues at stake in the world today. There are none that are more important than the questions around our use of fossil fuel. Do we continue traveling down the same self-destructive road we’re on? Or do we move aggressively to alternative, cleaner energy sources? And, although I probably should be, I am not including global warming in this argument. Why? Because the issue of global warming has become a distraction. One side trots out “experts” to say it’s happening, the other side trots out “experts” to say it isn’t. Or that, if it is, it is the result of a natural sun cycle or some reason other than humankind’s use of fossil fuels. The arguments around global warming in the U.S. political arena have become something like a dog chasing it’s tail. But that doesn’t matter. For now, forget global warming! it is distracting us from at least two very critical, absolutely undeniable, aspects of the reality around oil that are falling by the wayside while we spin and dance about global warming. Quite possibly the distraction the controversy around global warming has become is one of the biggest friends those who want to keep using, or even expand our use of oil have going for them. It’s time to refocus and do so with clarity.
First, the methods that are being used today in the mad rush of big oil companies to locate and access oil deposits, and all the spills that happen daily for various reasons, are polluting, poisoning our waters and our planet at an unprecedented rate. Offshore drilling, fracking in the U.S. (and elsewhere?), and countless oil spills are absolutely unsafe for human kind and other living things! Our waters: oceans, lakes, aquifers, rivers, streams, wells are being polluted, rendered unable to support life, on a vast scale. A couple years ago I had the opportunity to take an overnight ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. It was summer so it there was daylight for most of the trip. I was sitting by a window making a phone call when I noticed the water we were going through was covered by an oil slick. As I continued to watch, over the course of some time, I couldn’t believe it. Most of the time the sea we were sailing through was covered with an oil slick! I felt ill seeing such widespread pollution. And the problem with pollution from oil spills in the Baltic is relatively minor (though not inconsequential) compared to what is happening within the Gulf of Mexico Ongoing problems in Gulf of Mexico. and the groundwater pollution from fracking and spills in the U.S. Four states confirm water pollution from drilling.
And when it comes to oil it isn’t just the pollution from spills and the chemicals used in fracking that are destroying our ecosystem, there is also the problem with plastic waste in our oceans. Plastic Oceans There is no good reason for us to continue to use petroleum to produce packaging for food and drink containers. There are many other, bio-degradable, sources available and more becoming a reality on an ongoing basis.
I highly encourage everyone to watch the documentary “Mission Blue”. This film provides a perspective on what we’ve lost over time along with some optimism about our chances for recovery if we take action now! The film can be watched on Netflix and here is a link to some clips: Mission Blue clips
I have included a few links on the subject of how both the extraction of and the use of oil are polluting are essential water systems. I hope you’ll take the time to search and learn more! Along with the pollution of our Earth’s waters there is the pollution of the air and and soil that also accompany the use of fossil fuels.
Finally, our continued use of oil in all the ways we use it are totally unnecessary. We have the technology developed and waiting to be brought to use and provide cleaner sources of energy. Solar, wind, wave energy sources, fuel cell technology, the many potential uses of hemp, bio-diesel and more are ready and waiting. All we need to do is exercise our will, our voices and demand an end to sheer insanity of the use of fossil fuels when cleaner alternatives are readily available. Again I encourage you to learn more.
Which brings us to the second critical reason we need to move forward to cleaner alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels. I’ll introduce it with a question:
Why, if the pollution related to such widespread use of oil and other fossil fuels is so great, and there are readily available, cleaner alternatives, then why haven’t we already begun widespread implementation of cleaner alternatives wherever possible? The answer can be summed up in one word: greed.
The second critical issue around oil is that our dependence upon oil has allowed a relative few to leverage inordinate amounts of money. The oil industry has played a major role in creating and maintaining the economic imbalance, the disparity and inequity within the economic reality of the U.S. and other countries. And they seem to have no intention of letting it go. Even if it is in their best interests as human beings.
Decreasing our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels would be taking a major step toward encouraging inventiveness, initiative, creativity in new industries. It would be an economic breath of fresh air. Discontinuing tax breaks and incentives to oil companies could provide revenue to train workers for the new alternative energy industries.
Here in the U.S. we are seeing a major sociological, ecological battle being played out in North Dakota. One one side we have Native Americans and many others. People who are tired of seeing water polluted, quality of life eroded. On the other side we have big oil and all the resources their big money can buy. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump say they back the pipeline. Both personalities, each who have been asking the American people to believe that they have our best interests at heart, each who have claimed to represent such vastly different positions, are in agreement on this issue. And the stand they both have expressed prioritizes big oil and big money.
The dichotomy could not be clearer. Do our leaders want to continue the oligarchical practices that are slowly poisoning our communities, our lives? Both economically and in terms of the pollution that is taking place.
Or do they want to see a new lease on life for the human race? Greater economic balance, renewed hope in the future?
The time is now, what is the answer?