210,000 Gallons a Day?

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I've been kinda bummed lately. This whole Louisiana Gulf of Mexico oil spill keeps rattling around in the back of my mind, and today on the news I heard that the initial spill projections were low. The oil is now spilling out to the tune of 210,000 gallons a day. That's how many millions of pounds of oil each day? This oil is now starting to reach the shores of Louisiana's beaches. Poor Louisiana, as if they needed another disaster to deal with. So I'm thinking about this tarry, oily, wretched mess mixing with our ocean water and the seabirds and seals and fish and every other creature who creeps or flies or swims in or near the water, not to mention the coral reefs. And so far, we're basically screwed. There's no end in sight. Oh, sure, some day BP will figure out how to cap the leak. Or maybe we'll have to just wait until the oil runs out. Or maybe eventually all of that human hair we're throwing at the leak will fill in and soak it up (or whatever the heck they're planning to do with it.)

It's just hard not to think about the world we're leaving for our children. Our actions affect what happens in the world; we're all connected to each other, and at a certain point, it goes beyond borders, it's the plain old human element. Can we ever be truly motivated to change when we don't realize the human interconnectedness that we're all a part of?

We've got to end our dependence on foreign oil, there's no doubt about that. And we've got to stop offshore drilling, because once you harm the environment, there really is no going back, there's simply mitigation of the existing problem. Try telling the seabird with oily wings not to worry, we'll have everything cleaned up some day. Doesn't really help Mr. Seabird with the oily wings now, does it?

I'm looking forward to a day in the not-too-distant future when everyone will be driving hybrids. Can I afford to drive a hybrid now? No, not really. I drive a 13-year-old Toyota that happens to get pretty decent gas mileage. But my fantasy is that one day soon, hybrid cars will offer twice the gas mileage as comparable nonhybrids, but rebates will be offered to reduce the price so that everyone will be able to afford to drive them. We as a people, as humans, need to set our priorities so our children's children can enjoy their day at the beach and not have to run away from angry divebombing oil-spotted pelicans. (If there are any pelicans left.)


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