Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wallowing in the Oilzoic Era
Behind me, a handful of local men were talking about drilling for oil and how easy it is—according to them, 30 days was the time it takes from when they start drilling in the Gulf until oil starts pumping into the Mainland. They were blaming Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for the high price of gas—that it had doubled since they had taken over the House and Senate. I suppose. Never mind how expensive petrol was before the Democrats took back Congress—and just barely. At least the Democrats haven't declared a mandate like President Bush who barely won a majority (arguably at that) in both elections.
I don't know any of these men or their backgrounds with the exception of one whose background is in physical education and coaching. Because I wasn't invited in on the conversation, I bit my tongue and didn't comment on how short-sighted they all sounded to me. For the most part I kept my trap shut with the exception of one quip I let out to the one I know about solar energy. He wasn't amused and quickly turned the subject to athletics—a topic that was agreeable to both of us.
During the same time, one of these men who seemed to have all the answers was talking about how the proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would amount to one letter-sized piece of paper in the oversized conference room were we waited. I assume his point was that the actual area of activity was miniscule compared with the entire ANWR region.
Yesterday I watched with sadness the developing news regarding the huge oil spill on the Mississippi River near New Orleans. I will venture to say that the source of the oil in that particular tragedy probably came from an area the size of a postage stamp relative to the designated area around it, yet look at the havoc it has brought to a river that is already dirty enough.
It appears that the Exxon Valdez was not illustrative enough for some of us—not here in Powell, Wyoming at least.
Meanwhile John McCain appears to understand the gravity of the event as he cancelled a visit to an offshore oil rig in Louisiana attributed to the unstable weather from Hurricane Dolly. But one has to wonder if the oil spill in the Mississippi River may have influenced his plans as well. Promoting off-shore drilling with a major oil spill in the same neighborhood makes for an ugly juxtaposition.
I wonder when we (as one people) will wake up to the hollow promises of the oil-dependent age we live in—its always-looming environmental hazards waiting to happen, its filth layered in greed, and its wreckless disregard for the planet we call home?
When will we rise from the dark days of the Oilzoic Era?
Postscript: As I write this, I've heard Republicans argue that Nancy Pelosi's request to immediately free up 70 million gallons of oil reserves won't bring down the price of oil, yet John McCain claims that President Bush's support to open up oil drilling has already caused oil prices to drop. Right...
Whatever happens, I hope the price of oil stays high enough to bring us to a somewhat painful, but necessary transition regarding our future in energy. I like to think of such wishes as "tough love."
The doctor has told us that we are overweight and it's going to require a long and committed effort to correct the problem rather than an overnight pill. I wonder if we—the people of this planet—have the gumption to take on this unavoidable and enduring challenge.