Monday October 23rd 2017

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Time to get off the bench…

Many of us have been captivated as the largest ecological disaster in our history slowly unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico.  The days pass as man struggles to put the cork back in the bottle and ebb the eruption of oil from the ocean floor.  The images are heartbreaking.

The reality is that fossil fuels have been wiping out life in the Gulf of Mexico for many years.  Our industrial food production system is heavily reliant on fertilizers that are produced from fossil fuels.  Most of the fertilizer used in the Midwest washes off the crops and fields and eventually is deposited in the Mississippi River which empties out into the Gulf of Mexico. (here is a animated explanation)

The nitrogen in the fertilizer spurs the rampant growth of algae in the water which eventually sucks the oxygen out of the water — no oxygen, no life.

The size of the dead zone varies but it can be as large as the state of New Jersey, or about 7,000 square miles.  (more here)

We have simply added a killing zone to the dead zone.

While the anger towards BP is warranted the opportunity presented by this catastrophe will be wasted if yet again we only focus on the symptoms. Or worse, if we simply do nothing.

The use of  coal causes a myriad of health problems and thousands of deaths across the country.  Thousands of US soldiers are continually put in harm’s way to ensure adequate access to oil fields.  Contamination by leaks from oil tankers and oil wells destroy entire ecosystems around the world every year.  The burning of fossils fuels are the driving force behind climate change that threatens to create an unlivable planet.

When do we start acting like adults and acknowledge the simple facts?  When do we start to make changes in our society?  Want a livable planet?  Want a few other life forms to survive with us?  Want to revive the American economy?  Then do the following:

  1. Write/Call your senator (Yes, really): Demand that we put a price on carbon.  Demand that they take action to stop global warming.  The true cost to society of burning coal and oil is not yet reflected in the prices we pay.  Once costs rise for these dirty fuels, industry will rapidly shift to renewable energy.  Renewable energy is LOCAL energy….local jobs, local manufacturing….what’s not to like?

    You can find your senator’s contact information here.

  2. Live a sustainable life style:  Each week look for a new way to reduce the amount of energy you use.  Drive less.  Get an energy audit for your home.  Weatherize your home.  Install some solar power on your roof.  Buying a new appliance?  Do your homework and get the most energy efficient model you can.  Buy less stuff. Avoid plastics.  Re-use.  Recycle.
Life is not a spectator sport.

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