Monday, 3 May 2010
The BP Oil Rig Disaster
Like you I have been focussed on the BP (Beyond Pollution) oil rig disaster that recently claimed 11 lives.
It has been reported that the leaking pipe, one mile down is spewing out oil at the rate of 5,000 barrels, 210,000 gallons a day. A safety valve that was supposed to shut off the flow of oil at the seabed in case of such an accident failed to operate, and so there is no way to stop the leak. The oil well taps into one of the largest U.S. reserves, quite simply this is an unprecedented environmental disaster.
Hundreds of imperilled species in the Gulf will be harmed by the toxic oil, the full extent of the damage will not be known for years to come as the oil could pour out for three months, efforts to contain the pollution being largely ineffective. We are but spectators.
As difficult as it is to deal with an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it is indescribably more difficult in the Arctic, but Obama has authorized Shell Oil to conduct exploration drilling this summer in the seas off Alaska, with the same technology that was used at the BP disaster.
Our society and its wealth is based on cheap oil, but as the more accessible sources of cheap oil run out so the price of oil goes up and it then becomes economically viable to drill and strip the less accessible areas in order to fuel societies addiction to it. Think of how a drug pusher gets clients hooked on heroin and then pushes the price up and you have a comparable analogy.
Is it worth it? The families of the 11 that died, and those along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida whose lives are going to be changed for years may well be asking themselves the same question.
Can we now put the sort of investment that is going into the clean-up operation into Solar Power? Safe, clean and cheap. We will have to make some adjustments to enable the technology to come into action, but compared to the adjustments the families of the 11 dead and those that are to be affected by the oil spill polution, these will be as nothing.
We can start the change while there is still time in order to scale down our reliance on oil, or we simply wait for reality that is to come to hit us.
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 10:59