Since BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion this spring, over 5 million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Animals, humans, states and entire industries have been devastated. Meanwhile, the conditions which lead to this catastrophe have gone largely unaddressed.
Off shore drilling is still seen as a legitimate way for us to meet our energy needs, and we continue to burn through unbelievable amounts of this finite fuel. What does this tell us about the world we live in today? For starters, it shows that the real crisis goes much deeper than any single disaster.
Our entire economy runs on the consumption of fossil fuels, a dependence which places us at the mercy of companies like BP and endangers the sustainability of life as we know it. This last oil spill is one overwhelming indicator that this way of life cannot last, that our culture and economy must change.
Fortunately, the change that we need so badly can begin in our homes, and it can begin with us. According to experts like Energy Savvy, the energy lost in the BP spill is roughly equivalent to the energy wasted every year by 75,000 homes. By weatherizing our homes and retrofitting our neighborhoods, we can start to take meaningful actions that reduce our dependence on oil. And weatherization is only one example.
In this video explaining the BP oil spill, Lisa See Kim and Ryan Hollon illustrate alternative routes to meeting our energy demands. Crude Awakenings points to changes we can make as a society to reduce our dependence on oil, whether that means changing where we get our food or investing in solar and wind power.
Whether these actions are supported the government or come from grassroots coalitions, what matters most is that they happen. For the more energy-efficient our world becomes, the less power Big Oil has over how we live our lives.
For more information on the problem and solutions check out:
Gulf Spill is Largest of It’s Kind, Scientist Say, New York Times
Energy Action Coalition is a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement.
Chicago’s Energy Action Network expands winter heating assistance services in neighborhoods and encourage residents to save money year-round through energy efficiency measures and programs.
Alliance for Climate Education educates high school students on the science behind climate change and inspires them to take action to curb the causes of global warming.
Farm Together Now is a new book (December 2010) by Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker who visited 20 urban and rural farmers around the country to provide a vision of real alternatives to oil-dependent industrial agriculture. We’ll let you know when the book is available, but meanwhile, you can check out Amy and Dan’s website.