Signs of the Apocalypse: The Post-Oil Rig Fallout

Alright, the whole Deepwater Horizon shit might be kind of old news by now, but cosidering that the well is still spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf means that it is still quite relevant.  Not surprisingly there has been a lot of a comparisons of the whole mess with any number of other disasters.  Possible the most vocal of which is Katrina (just see Google News results).  i happen to dimsiss a lot of these comparisons because I feel that a lot of it, on one side of the aisle or the other, is just a bunch of the standard talking head bit our cultural-media loves to gravitate toward.  However there is one thing that I haven’t heard of (and by all means this does not suggest that the comparison hasn’t been made.  If it has I’d love to see it); that is Three Mile Isalnd and Chernobyl.

The thing about this whole disaster is that it is more than an environmental nightmare or a question about poor regulations.  It is even more than a worse incident than the Exxon Valdez.  What this massive oil leak is, is a very real affront to our societies desire for cheap energy. 

Ask yourself this: why is there off-shore oil drilling in the first place?  One answer (amongst many) is that it exist to continue to feed the energy consuming machine that is our modern world.  Our society demands cheap readily available energy day in and out.  I am not trying to point fingers here folks, as I am just as much a part of this system while I sit and type on a computer, but I am trying to point out that to a degree, our very culture is at blame for this incident. 

And how about this; what is the next disaster in our seeking of cheap energy?  Our nation has not built any new nuclear plants for years for fear of another reactor mealtdown, but we are in the process of gearing up for new ones.  What further risks exist for coal or natural gas?  Even clean energy may ultimately have unforeseen consequences.  My point is that we likely too often turn a blind-eye to a vast number of potential risks because doing so ensures that continued quick cheap energy we love.

What is the solution?  I don’t know, but maybe it is requiring a bit of a paradigm shift in the way we think about the availability of energy.  Will the leaking well eventually be capped?  I’m sure it will, but the damage is done, and that is what we have to live with.  The energy we soe intimately rely on everyday is gathered through risky practices, and it is more than reasonable to assume that other disasters will eventually occur.  We can eleviate some of the fallout by ensuring that the systems are proper regulated and monitored, but to really make sure that further issues do not take human lives or cause irreprable damage to the environment, we need to begin to change how we demand energy itself.  Cleaner energy might be a first step, but I think it will take more than that.  I think it will take a general relinquish of some of what we’ve come to expect as our dues.  Failure to do so will inevitably spell future incidents.

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~ by Nathaniel on June 3, 2010.

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