Friday, April 30, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill

I don’t like most animals. Dogs are my favorite. I will stop and talk to pretty much any dog and, perhaps, their owner. I am not fond of cats, camels or crocodiles and I never wish to be in the presence of a mountain lion, coyote or shark. But I do like people, many of them, anyway.
This past week there has been another devastating oil mess; this time in the Gulf of Mexico. Tens of thousands of gallons of raw crude spilled into the salty waters of this beautiful body of water. Sea life will certainly die; the environment will be greatly disturbed; the coastlines altered and economy set back. This is tragic, of course. I recall with sadness and horror the photos of seagulls dripping with the thick, black tar of the crude that gushed from the open wound of the Exxon Valdes; the ravaged beaches; the appropriate outrage of the citizens; the massive efforts to cleanse the ocean. There was nothing good about it.
Rightly or wrongly we are a nation addicted to oil and other forms of fuel obtained by drilling, digging, scraping and mining for earth’s natural resources. In the process massive machines are used along with vast amounts of dynamite, fire and power. When things go wrong on this scale they go terribly wrong. In the big picture I find it remarkable that our world experiences so few accidents.
There has been much made lately of the pursuit of alternative fuel sources like solar, wind and ethanol. I remain skeptical of the results but fully support any company or individual who chooses to invest their own money in the research. (If you think there will be no negative repercussions on our environment and wildlife from these forms of energy you are surely wrong. What state is going to volunteer to bury all the batteries from the proliferation of the oh-so-responsible hybrid cars we are driving? What will the Wildlife Society say when they encounter piles of dead bird carcasses at the foot of all those wind turbines?) In recent weeks I have also seen responsible research results suggesting that all of these alternative fuels combined will reduce by less than 3% our dependence on oil, gasoline and coal.
And so, with all due respect for God’s green earth and all of its inhabitants I cannot throw myself upon the rocks in wild hysteria every time we experience another tragic oil spill, factory explosion or coalmine disaster. Sadly, but inevitably, they are the unfortunate bi-products of who we are and how we live. And for those who protest so loudly may I suggest you unplug your computer, turn off your lights, sell your car, refrain from charging your cell phone, let your grass grow, sell your refrigerator, remove the furnace and air-conditioner from your home, bathe in cold water, build an outhouse, walk to work, smash your television and enjoy life.


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