Understandably, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (which seems to be the first oil spill to have a Facebook page) has been the subject of intense interest on this blog (repeatedly), in New Orleans (which incredibly finds itself in the cross-hairs of ANOTHER disaster) and in nearby Florida, where brilliant and acerbic environmentalist Carl Hiaasen (buy his books, especially the ones for kids) makes his mark on the subject.
But here is a different angle on the disaster. Consider the recent episode here in New England where a quarter of the population of Right Whales were spotted feeding in an area where whales are not normally found. This reminds us that putting an inherently dangerous activity like oil and gas drilling anywhere in the ocean is like playing Russian roulette with the lives of the animals that live in the ocean and our oceans generally. A lesson that is playing out among the sea turtles who rely on the Gulf of Mexico as a safe place to reproduce.
So what can we do? The first thing is to not open up even more of our coastline to drilling, especially as part of a climate bill that is intended to protect and restore our environment. But the ultimate answer is to reduce use of , and therefore demand for, oil. And that means, more than anything else, reducing our gasoline consumption. How do we do that? Building smart walkable communities with transit options and using far more efficient cars would be a great start.
We have the seen the enemy and it is us . . . but it doesn’t have to be that way forever.