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Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Oil Disaster

Earth Day was invented after a blowout of an oil platform off Santa Barbara, California. Another serious spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker near Alaska followed 20 years later.
Now tons and tons of oil per day are spilling from the wrecked Deepwater Horizon rig off New Orleans with horrendous impacts on the land as well as fish and birds.
Lisa Margonelli writes in the New York Times:
“The Deepwater Horizon spill illustrates that every gallon of gas is a gallon of risks — risks of spills in production and transport, of worker deaths, of asthma-inducing air pollution and of climate change, to name a few. We should print these risks on every gasoline receipt. And we should throw our newfound political will behind a sweeping commitment to use less gas — build cars that use less oil (or none at all) and figure out better ways to transport Americans.”
Oil is the real problem here. Outsourcing the drilling doesn’t resolve anything, really. We all share this one and only Earth. So spills somewhere else might not effect us immediately, but in the long run we all pay.
What we have to realize is that we have to use less gas. Americans use more gasoline than South America, Europe, Africa and Asia combined!
Why is that? Low fuel taxes, low fuel efficiency requirements and a poor transportation system contribute to the fact that the typical American has developed kind of an, um, addiction to the liquid that is used in pretty much everything from cosmetics and plastic products to motor oil and medications.
So what can we do?
  • Be aware
  • Walk and bike as much as you can
  • Use public transportation whenever possible
  • Carpool with co-workers, co-students etc.
  • Minimize consumption (how much stuff do we really need?)
  • Reuse and recycle
  • Use natural products as much as you can (wood, glas, steel instead of manmade stuff)

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