Has your sleep returned to normal after BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster? If so, it may be time to think about why this was not an aberration, why we’re likely to see more and even larger disasters in the near future.
Michael Klare lays out some plausible scenarios in a recent Mother Jones article, BP-Style Extreme Energy Nightmares to Come.
The only question is: What will the next Deepwater Horizon disaster look like (other than another Deepwater Horizon disaster)? The choices are many, but here are four possible scenarios for future Gulf-scale energy calamities. None of these is inevitable, but each has a plausible basis in fact.
The only thing that seems implausible is that we can continue to extract energy at the rate we do now without ever greater environmental, political, and economic costs.
Envisioning disaster scenarios may make for good drama while everyone’s primed, but the question is where are we pointing fingers? And what are the solutions? It just seems remarkably convenient to imagine the primary responsibility lies in government and the corporate ‘persons’ that we have so little control over, when all of us are responsible for creating and continuing to perpetuate this insatiable, growing energy dependence. All of us give them this power (no pun intended).
How many of us are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to allow a more balanced order to arise? How do you do that without completely collapsing the economy (even further)? And are you willing to sacrifice your children’s present and future security, let alone comfort? To deny them what you raised them to believe was their due? Because that’s what it would take. And how do we transform the situation without denying developing nations the chance to attain what we’ve had for decades and they are striving to secure for their families?
It’s very difficult to imagine a viable solution that doesn’t entail a significant transformation in lifestyle en masse. I doubt that many of us can look in the mirror and feel confident that we’re not contributing to the problem.
I suppose it may be that articles such as this one may provide the necessary impetus for a small fraction of the population to change course, but more likely it’s simply preaching to the choir. And it’s doubtful that even the choir is doing its part. Do we even know what that part should be? That, I think, is the conversation we all need to be focusing on.
I hope there is somewhere else in the world that has shrimp like the Gulf’s. And how about Red Snapper. How many spills does it take to totally ruin the oceans?