Friday, June 04, 2010

Oil, but at what cost?

There are many reasons why I've been following the story of the oil disaster impacting the Gulf Coast in America. As someone who has a background in environmental science I'm interested in the processes involved in stopping the leak, and sorting out the damage. It amazes me that it has taken so long. I understand it's a complex business at the kind of depths that are involved, but where was the contingency plan? Why do the oil companies between them appear not to have a strategy for this kind of thing?

Then there is the clean-up. We don't seem to have made much progress at all in dealing with oil spills. The technology looks little different to the things that were in use in the 70's. Different chemicals I guess, but I haven't seen much that suggests innovation.

But there is also the need to ask questions about our continually increasing dependence upon oil, a dependence that drives us to more risky attempts to extract the oil form the earth. It seems to me that we must ask questions about a development model that puts our environment as so much risk.

Which do you think is the greater eyesore, offshore wind farms or large areas of coastline covered in crude oil and uninhabitable to wildlife?

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