Why don't we ask the eleven people who were killed when the oil rig they were working on exploded last week in the Gulf of Mexico?
Or the fishermen whose livelihoods are about to be destroyed by the oil slick, now bigger than the state of Rhode Island and growing by 42,000 gallons every day, that's inexorably moving toward land?
Or how about BP, the company running the drilling operation, that can't figure out how the heck to cap the leaking oil well that once fed the rig because it lies 5,000 feet below the surface of the sea?
Maybe we should just ask ourselves. After all, we're the ones driving the gas-guzzling, oil burning cars and trucks and SUVS that make it easy to turn our heads and look away. We're the ones who keep voting for politicans who put petroleum before people. We're the ones who convince ourselves that, if environmental disasters don't happen in our backyard, they're not our problem.
Wake up and smell the burning oil fumes. At any given time, oil is either a disaster waiting to happen, or a disaster we're watching happen. There are over 8100 oil spills of some magnitude in the U.S. every year, more than 22 every day. The amount of air pollution and water pollution and habitat destruction caused by our addiction to petroleum is not just unsustainable. It is shameful.
Yes, we can all "conserve." We can drive more fuel efficient cars, and carpool, and insulate our homes and office buildings, and pump up our tires…the list goes on.
But that is not enough. It will never be enough because oil is so toxic: one drop can contaminate a gallon of water. Burning it is creating the climate change that has put the entire globe at risk.
No, we can't just use less oil.
We have to use no oil.
It is time to shut this industry down.