Oil…not in my backyard

What will history books say about the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico exploding then sinking on April 20, 2010? How did the sinking of this oil rig and its ># month long oil fissure release > ###,###,### barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico?  The alarm clock is going off for all of us.  We are all culpably involved in the reason why the Gulf of Mexico is contaminated with oil.

Currently estimates put the leakage at between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day,  “The oil slick now covers an area of sea the size of Scotland ”   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10367509.stm BBC News  “Gulf of Mexico oil spill claims to be ‘paid quickly'” 15:41 GMT, Monday, 21 June 2010 16:41 UK


Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium

Oil spill stories: the human impact of the Gulf of Mexico spill

NOAA Assists Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Efforts – Updated Daily

Live chart progress of oil – link.

We are at a historical moment.  The oil still coming out of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico will change the face of our planet.  It will change the environment and every culture will change because of it.  It is because of our technological advances that humans are dependent on oil.  And history will make us accountable long after we turn to dust.

This is not one of my inspirational or motivational posts.  I actually dreaded writing it.  It is more like a rant due to the stress I feel and an attempt to deal with it.

As you read this think about all of the things you are currently coming into contact with that exist because of oil… Clothing, electronics, food, medical supplies, outdoor recreations, shelter, transportation, et cetera, all exist because of oil.  No one wants an oil-rig platform of their coast.  No one wants their backyard deemed uninhabitable.  Yet, due to our dependency, oil will continue to be pulled out of the Earth.

I see three possible outcomes

  1. Someone smarter than I creates / discovers an element that is renewable, biodegradable, and can be fashioned into all of the things that oil currently becomes.  New employments…clean waters…a Green age.  This maybe the best way the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and other types of environmental groups will change our culture with a collective goal.  I hope this is what type of future my son will inhabit.
  2. A revival of agrarian living could happen.  People move out of cities into small communities where they make everything that they need to live.  A back to nature movement… I do not know if I have the strength to live off the land and be 100% giving and receiving of my neighbors for survival.  I think our collective cultures have moved too far to ask people to live simply and to turn their back on modern conveniences, in essence, “to live deliberately”.  A Walden Age.
  3. There will be more oil spills to come making the waters red… life in the waters die… insects will feed on the dead… more people become unemployed… famine…   This idea comes from the multiple news sources I have read, from listening to politicians, seeing how a judge rules on an oil drilling ban, and accepting the reality of our consumer culture.  People are only focusing on, the short cuts made by the oil company, the talk of money to clean up the disaster, the need for transparency, who to quickly give money to, and if someone should go to jail.  There are very few people saying “we are all responsible”, instead everyone is divided and pointing fingers.  Moreover think of the number of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico that are working within the legal standards.  (And think of the number of oil drilling platforms throughout the world)  Thus another spill will happen again.  Icky, this would be a bad outcome.

Maybe Zager and Evans were onto something when they sang “In the Year 2525”

Maybe in the year 2525 the planet will see a new age that incorporates the best of 19th century American transcendentalism and today’s going green movements.

The hardest thing to accept is that my dependency on stuff has helped put oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  And one day my son will ask “Daddy why were people not smart enough to see the damage they were creating?”

The uncomfortable answer is we knew. And we did not want to make hard choices and accept the inconveniences of eliminating our dependency on oil in all of its forms.  We only focused on earning money to get more stuff to make ourselves happy.  Instead of being happy with what we have.

Well, I am going to go fly a kite, enjoy what I have,  take nothing for granted, try to spend my money on things that are not apart of the oil chain of dependence, and help with the cleanup when the oil hits our beaches (I could drive to the areas currently effected, but then I would be increasing my carbon foot print, my head hurts) – Jeff


  1. Jeff – Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. It is tough not to become depressed about the environmental devastation that is occurring in our world, the Gulf being the latest horrendous example. Your 3 scenarios are all possible and I am trying not to dwell on the third one – but it might take humanity to go to the brink before there is sufficient of a global awakening to turn things around. I find it intolerable to think of what we are passing on to the children of today. I often wonder if the corporate overseers have children. But your son’s generation might be smarter than previous ones. I very much hope he gets to play on your beaches and coastline for a long time yet.


  2. the oil spill in mexico really affected the eco system around that area, it would take years to clean those mess “

  3. Something to think about…
    We have learned and know the risks of drilling; however, we have no strength to change. In the USA there is an on going problem with mineral rights (oil,natural gas). Companies can drill right next to a school and homes. check out “Split Estate” http://www.splitestate.com/ and the movie “Gasland” http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/ Since it happens literally in the back yard of families, companies will continue to drill in the oceans. Ugg. 😦

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