Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Excuse to Pillage: Part 2

In recent days both John McCain and President Bush have advocated lifting the ban on offshore drilling. Hiding behind the guise of "helping the consumer" and the omnipresent cry of "national security," another false solution is offered. Even if everyone agreed to let this environmental recklessness proceed unchallenged, it would be at least 20 years before any oil is actually produced.

If we have not figured out another solution to our inter-linked climate and energy crises by then, it will not matter. Ideas that suggest further damaging the environment as a solution to our current problems are outmoded and symptomatic of a mindset that focus on the immediate and ignores long-term consequences.

We have now crossed into a zone where hopes of finding and producing new sources of petroleum only encourages thinking that perpetuates our most pressing problems. We're like a gambler who has run out of money and sells the car so he can win it all back. Committing the same mistake is not the solution.

What will it take to have a discussion of these issues, climate and energy, that is not driven by irrelevant concerns over the price of gas? Irrelevant? Yes, because the solutions do not involve the same mistakes. OIL IS OVER. Fossil fuels are as dead as the dinosaurs that produced them. We can no longer let any other narrative continue. The future necessitates the stark realization that it will not last forever. All resources are finite. Encouraging any more dependence on this resource is folly. If all the oil in the world that there is anywhere were all suddenly made available as easily as sticking a straw in the ground, it still remains true that it will eventually run out and not so far into the future.

There is now an opportunity in these crises to find a solution that addresses both our problems with climate change and energy dependence. The problems will likely require many varied methods from a number of diverse approaches. Rather than an energy policy based on an oil war to drive down costs, perhaps one directed towards sustainability and environmental sensitivity could be implemented.

Get out your calculators and consider this. If the U.S. government truly wanted to help the consumer and contribute to energy independence it could install $10,000 worth of solar panels on 100 million homes for half of the $2 trillion estimate economists have given for the Iraq war. Not only would this provide great relief to the entire power grid as regards the production of energy and likely lower everyone's utility bills, it could also be a tremendous boost to the economy. Production of panels would aid manufacturing and employment gains in the industry would offset any loses in the petroleum industry.

Trampling the environment must be seen for what it is. Offshore drilling is an excuse for some to make money and some to make political capital. For too long, the people of this country have been sold down the river by our elected leaders. Rather than doing anything to address our energy and environmental issues, they have worked to insure that profits are not harmed by environmental concerns. What happen to "of the people, by the people and for the people"? Did that get edited out of the Constitution at Dick Cheney's secret energy plan meetings?

The above blog is part of a larger article about energy independence by Ray Bawarchi.

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British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer