I have not commented on the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico since it started, but I feel it is now time to do so. What a freakin’ mess!! BP — What were you thinking? What are you thinking?

One cannot call this a spill because an overturned glass is a spill; a wrecked railroad car with its contents leaking on the ground or into a stream is a spill, a tanker run aground is a spill. Each of these is inherently limited and thus contains within itself the limits of its potential damage.

The hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is an unchecked tap into a (according to BP) huge reservoir of oil and natural gas with the potential to poison a huge portion of the planet. This is the largest human-caused disaster in all of history.

As oil keeps gushing into the Gulf and the scope of this human and environmental disaster increases exponentially, I watch the people of the Gulf Coast attempting to cope with it and realize that there is no way that this is going to be stopped any time soon. Nor will a complete cleanup even be possible. The oil is not only present on the surface of the water, in fact the vast majority of it is hidden, unseen beneath the surface, like the iceberg that sank the Titanic.

We have run the ship of our oil dependency upon the iceberg of huge multinational corporations whose greed has run amok and caused them to “drill, baby, drill” without regard for safety, the ecology or the welfare of the inhabitants world’s coasts. Neither land-dwelling nor marine nor human nor plant nor animal is safe. All is at risk.

So-called “Experts” are saying that the effects of this disaster could spread as far as the Arctic. How can anyone believe that this is the limit? Is there any reason not to believe that there is no limit; that all of the world’s oceans and coastlines are at risk? If the oceans are poisoned and the food chain collapses, where will that leave us?

Please see my Facebook group, Boycott BP and join for updates and to participate in planning or taking non-violent, non-destructive, peaceful action.

http://www.facebook.com/david.both?v=info#!/group.php?gid=117870021588108

Unfortunately we will always require petroleum products, if not for fuel then for plastics, shampoo, lubricants, pharmaceuticals and many other products we use each day. Our civilization is built upon the foundation of fossil fuels. While we move our home to another foundation we must take drastic steps to ensure that events like the Gulf Disaster or the Exxon Valdeze can never, ever happen again.

Regulate the Oil Companies

We need to ensure that oil is located, drilled for and produced in a manner that is safe for the workers and the environment. In order to achieve this we need greater regulation of the oil industry and more inspectors who must be given the unalterable authority to shut down any operation on the spot and without any requirement to obtain permission from anyone. This person must be the ultimate authority on site or otherwise.

We also need to ensure that the pipelines and ships that carry oil from well to refinery to distribution centers and on to the gas stations and other outlets are also regulated and made safe.

No oil or chemical-related company or industry should be exempt.

Reducing Our Dependency on Oil

Clearly we must reduce our dependency on oil as we transition to renewable energy. There is no other way. There are many things each of us can do. Here are just a few with which we can start.

  • Use CFLs.
  • Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle. A REALLY efficient vehicle. To me that number starts at 35MPG and goes up. My Gen1 Prius gets 48MPG on average.
  • Walk or ride a bike to the store when possible.
  • Turn off lights that are not in use.
  • Don’t waste water.
  • Don’t leave vehicles running just to keep the air-conditioner of heater running.
  • Keep tires properly inflated.
  • Keep vehicles properly maintained.
  • Replace old hot water heater with on-demand heaters.
  • Replace old appliances with new, energy efficient ones.
  • Get an energy audit from your energy company (electric or gas) and perform the actions they tell you can save energy.

There are many more but you can start with a few of these.

But remember, I am not laying all of the blame for this at the feet of the consumers. We must regulate the energy companies in order to make whatever energy source we use safe, dependable and clean.

Call your elected representatives and let them know we want clean dependable, and safe energy now and that regulation is the only way to get there. Don’t wait. Do it now! Would the BP Disaster have occurred if we had taken action after the Exxon Valdeze? We can prevent the next one.

Alice and I, along with Vickie, our Barack Obama Change Crew Seven Leader, and her three girls worked on cleaning up the greenway near our house today as a service project for Martin Luther King day. We collected four large bags of trash in about ninety minutes, and due to the fact that there were only a few of us and so much trash we barely scratched the surface.

If you walk the greenway it will look a bit better because we managed to get much, but not all, of the trash close to the pedestrian walkway. Further away from the walkway we did not have enough people to do so, and we were unable to wade in the water to get much of the trash that was in the stream beds.

The Worst

Most of the trash we collected was near Durant Road Middle School. That area was a mess. Clearly the students are dumping trash and “other stuff” there between classes and during sporting events on the fields behind the school. The greenway runs behind the school on the far side of the athletic fields.

We found clothing, plastic bottles and aluminum cans, glass beer bottles, beer cans, cans and bottles which had been used as spittoons for chewing tobacco, used condoms, a bright red snow sled (which we commandeered to haul the trash away), plastic and foil bags, complete home packed lunches — lunch boxes included, newspapers, magazines, and much other assorted trash.

Perhaps a discussion with school authorities is in order and some sort of regular cleanup day would help the students understand that they need to be ecologically responsible. My brother and I suggested this when we were going to elementary school and it became a yearly event.

More Disgusting Stuff

Many dog walkers try to clean up after their animals and, as we walk the greenway most days, many of the people we see are carrying plastic bags with the dog poop that they have cleaned up. However some owners don’t clean up or even worse, collect the poop in bags and then throw the bags into the brush and the streams. The latter is the worst possible thing you can do!

If you are one of the morons that does this, please stop now!!! The plastic bags hurt the environment all by themselves, and they prevent the poop from being broken down and reused by nature. At least if your dog poops and you leave it, the poop will degrade and return to nature in a short period of time.