Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Save Ourselves, Innovations Must Be Developed

Many are discussing the politically sensitive issue of offshore oil drilling off the coast of the United States after the recent destruction of an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico. This oil spill threatens the surrounding coastline with an environmental disaster and guarantees lawsuits against BP for years.

Oil Slick off the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River near Louisiana Photo/Gerald Herbert

The big problem is the world's increasing need for oil. While some might accuse the media of distorting the amount of oil being squandered since the current offshore loss is a small percentage of daily oil usage in the United States alone, they miss the big point: oil is a non-renewable resource and when it's gone, it's gone. This controversial resource would almost seem more precious than water and people, although it isn't and must be kept in its place as a tool.

If only the problem of oil-dependence could inspire and reward innovators to act now as the Administration hopes.  If oil runs out completely, Americans and most other nations around the world will be forced very quickly to change the way they conduct and run businesses, heat houses and power landscape equipment. At some point in time, not very far into the future, all forms of transportation will have to rely on alternative fuel.

The world must practice sustainability. America, too, should unify to create new ways to become more energy self-sufficient and less dependent on oil. Native Americans near Cape Cod on the East Coast, specifically two Wampanoag tribes, say the sight of newly-built wind farms there will "disturb their spiritual sun greetings."
Can Americans help themselves and the world, including China and India with their increasing consumption of oil, and reduce, if not eliminate their oil demands without changing their businesses and lifestyles? Where is the world going to get more oil when natural reserves run dry? Hope is a luxury.  It isn't the correct answer.

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