I have to admit watching the news about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with a certain mix of terror and schadenfreude. This is obviously going to be bad. The Christian Science monitor figures that by the sixth day, the oil slick was already 1/50th the size of the Alaska Exxon Valdez spill. They project that it will take 250 days of sustained leakage to reach the full 10.8 million gallons of oil that single ship spilled.
Newser’s more recent reports that the spill could be five times worse than originally thought, saying “could be America’s worst environmental disaster in decades”
Not only could this wipe out the lives of fisherman like the Valdez did, but it threatens huge sections of major coastline. No tourist dollars will be spent on black tar beaches. I don’t even want to think about those million dollar beach front properties.
But knowing the voting records of these states, and the quitter-governor of Valdezland; I like to imagine the citizens cheering themselves up with a rousing chant of “Drill Baby Drill!”
I am not an environmental nutcase, so I don’t take glee every time we shoot ourselves in the foot with something tragic like this. I understand that oil is largely responsible for America’s unique position in the world for the past 100 or so years. It’s a cheap and mobile fuel. It is easy to obtain and move. We have built an entire civilization, economy, and global power based upon our ability to extract, gather, and use oil. And just as quickly as it powered us on to greatness, oil will ruin America.
Oil is dangerous for our future for three simple, non-environmental reasons:
1) It is too many eggs in one basket. Not only is oil our preferred fuel, for much of America’s needs, it is the ONLY fuel. Right now our commutes to our jobs, our moving of goods and staples around the world, almost everything we move or transport depends upon oil.
Just look at what happened in the 1970’s. A quick dip in world oil supply and our economy looks like we let Wall Street run it with a poorly regulated derivatives market. (Too soon?)
2) The people who control a lot of the world’s oil know this and don’t seem to like us. It seems insane to me to base an economy and a civilization on a resource that is controlled by people hostile to us. It would make a great movie or video game, but not a national energy policy.
3) Oil is a limited resource. Sure, we can argue if we have 10 years or a 100 years of oil left, but anyone who does is an asshole. Either way, it will run out. All that guys is saying is that he is certain (or hoping) there will be enough for him and everyone else can go screw themselves.
I mean it isn’t like those founding fathers, or Carnegie Mellons, or those solders who helped fight two World Wars ever did anything for us. America is about getting yours and letting the next people pick up the pieces. This nation was not founded on one generation making it better for their children and grandchildren.
So in that spirit, people of the Gulf, remember what oil is doing for you right now. Sure, next week you might be living behind an aquatic hell on earth with flames belching black smoke as we try to burn it off. But just keeping thinking about today. Drill Baby Drill.