Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The BP Spill

The BP Spill

The BP Oil Spill is but the thief that got caught. Oil and other fossil fuels are filthy businesses and the constant seepage, spills, runoff, environmental stripping and small, unreported disasters are ongoing.

This BP Spill is a precursor for the drilling industry that is constantly going deeper, taking larger risks to extract the oil that is further from our more conventional grasps.

One wonders how much truth we are being told. Of course what is being heard is what most want to hear, and what the oil industry wants everyone to hear: that technology saved the day and that all is under control and always will be, as the news media commits to “case solved” and the plight of the fishing industry and the lives of the folks on the gulf gets left behind in their coverage.

Any why do we take such risks? And why do we wage aggressive war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and rattle “our” sabers at Iran? So that we can carelessly glide from destination to destination as our privileged imperial ownership caste where our only real job is to consume what each other own?

Oil is a precious resource and one that should be used wisely. Oil heats our homes, oil would be very useful in a humane agricultural system, oil products can cook our food, oil products can be used to generate electricity which, if prudently used, can add much to the quality of our lives. Oil products are used for the creation of durable goods and as feedstock for other valuable uses.

But, people of the USA squander over 15 million barrels a day of oil equivalent to fuel their mindless forays of consumption in personal automobiles. They know no other way. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We could rebuild our neighborhoods and reallocate goods and services accordingly so that the things that people need are available within walking distance of most. Such a program of building/rebuilding village/community/telecommuting centers could not only contribute to a worthwhile goal of reducing personal automobile usage by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years, thereby greatly extending the tail of post-peak fossil fuels for future generations, but would also greatly add to the communitarian, sedentary, quality of life for all.
We need to commit to this as a nation and commit to it right away.

In addition to improving our domestic quality of life, such a commitment and action plan would go a long way to easing geo-political tensions and allow “us” to cease aggressions with oil rich regions and ease the pressure to extract so much carbon fuels, so fast, thus alleviating the ongoing environmental damaging and greatly reducing the chances of large environmental disasters.

Of course, the momentum of the industrial society and currently accepted "growth" imperative will cause the oil industry to try to maximize oil revenues, therefore production and consumption, and thus environmental degradation and sooner long-term, sustaining fuel shortages. The only solution to this problem, that I can see, is the nationalization of the oil companies and their associated industries, with production scheduling co-ordinated with a full fledge demand side management plan.

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