Monday, May 10, 2010

It's About Time For Action!

This post isn't about cycling, although getting more people on bikes does help the cause.

I was just watching the news ... I do that now and then ... and saw another report on the massive oil leak in the Gulf.  It's such a sad waste ... and such a tragedy ... one that is unbelievably devastating to the environment.  And for what?  For OIL?  Yes, we have become quite dependent on oil ... but only because we've been somewhat forced to be so.  The technology for other energy sources has been available for years ... for DECADES ... and because the greedy, money-hungry, careless oil companies have gained the extreme power over our government, the application of these green technologies has been pushed far away from the people.  And by "the people", I mean all of us.  Their powerful lobbyists and financial games have made it too costly for the average person to afford a car that's not fueled by oil or a home that's not powered by company-supplied electricity.  This has to change ... and if the recent oil leak in the Gulf isn't a sign, then I don't know what it will take.

There have now been MILLIONS of barrels of oil spilled into the water, and all attempts to contain it have failed ... each one taking days to even try ... meanwhile, the oil continues to spill, contaminating the water where a multitude of sea life USED to thrive.  What happens next?  Well, I'm guessing the fishing industry is shot down there ... another casualty of the oil tycoons.  Haven't the people in our southern states had enough with hurricanes and such?  Even if they can stop the leak, it will take YEARS to clean the water, and it may never be the same.  Fish and other sea life will die.  People who make their living from that sea life will lose their business, jobs, homes ... as if the financial meltdown wasn't enough.

To think there was such a huge push recently to establish more offshore drilling here in Southern California is now unimaginable.  Of course the oil companies all told us how safe it is ... I wonder what they say now?  While the risk of a leak such as this current tragedy may be low in the long run, the fact that such a risk exists should make the choice easy ... NO MORE DRILLING!

Technology for sustainable, green energy is available.  There is plenty of sunshine for everyone ... plants, trees, and humans.  It's good for us, it doesn't harm the planet, and it's free!  When the sun isn't shining, there's likely enough wind available to power turbines ... once again ... no environmental impact, and free!  Solar and wind power technology has been around for a very long time ... and it's time it became available to the average home, at a price that's affordable for everyone.  A solar and wind powered home can produce enough energy to be completely self-sustaining, even recharging an electric car each day, and possibly even send some back to the electric company for someone else to use.  And speaking of electric cars, we have had the technology to build them for a long time ... so why isn't it happening faster?  Once again, because the all-powerful oil companies won't allow it ... and when they do, it's in the form of "hybrid" vehicles that are beyond the price range of the people who really need them, and even so, they still use gas (the "hybrid" part).  It's more like a vehicle that makes people "feel" like they're helping the environment ... making people feel good about themselves is what marketing is all about, right?  Our auto manufacturers can certainly make all-electric cars that work ... and they can make them in all price levels from ultra-affordable to full-on luxury.  Saying they can't is an outright lie.

It's time to make some changes.  The question is ... how do we make it happen?  How do we send the message to our government that we need them to stop allowing the oil and power companies to decide what technology is affordable and available?  How do we get our government to hold them accountable for everything that happens when they screw up?  BP should not only pay for the cleanup in the Gulf ... they should pay for the lost wages of the people who can't work in the fishing industry down there ... they should pay for wildlife rescue operations for as long as they're needed ... they should absorb the higher cost of gas for the public and LOSE money for a while, not just pass the loss on to us in higher prices ... there should be a sizable fine for every day that the leak continues, which should go directly to green technology ... and they should be forced to shut down their offshore drilling sites to prevent any future catastrophes.  I, for one, am tired of rising gas prices blamed on increased costs while the oil companies simultaneously post record profits and defend them by saying their profit "percentage" isn't higher, only the dollar amount due to the higher gas prices.  True and logical ... but still criminal in my mind.  Combined with the largest tax breaks and loopholes of any industry, it becomes pure evil.  And no Bail-Out for them, either, even if it means bankrupcy.  We don't need oil ... we need development of safe, sustainable, green technology at an affordable price for everyone.

Anyone have any thoughts how to get some action?  For me ... for now ... I'm very sad for the people, the wildlife, and the environment that will be hurting for a very, very long time.  And I will be shopping by bike ... refusing to drive and support the oil companies by buying gas.  I know it's not much, but if everyone does a little, it might make a collective impact.

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