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Gulf spill: What oil habits will you change?

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Well, now it has happened to me. It’s happened to all of us, and we can’t afford to make excuses any longer. We must take every step we can – small or large – to reduce our oil consumption and reduce our dependence on oil both foreign and local.

Those of us who grew up in the Gulf should now lead the way, because we’re seeing firsthand the toll this oil gusher is taking on our land and sea.

Growing up, my family often went fishing in the Gulf. We would sometimes tie our boat to a leg of an oil rig to keep us from drifting off.

At the end of the day, a pod of dolphins sometimes joined us on our way back to shore. They’d swim alongside us, eager for a snack. Now, like everything else that makes its home in the Gulf, they are threatened by this ongoing manmade disaster.

Location of oil rigs

Many Gulf oil rigs are just a few miles from shore. If any of these rigs sprung a leak, it wouldn’t take long for the land to be destroyed.

By comparison, the Deepwater Horizon rig is 50 miles from shore and on the eastern side of the state. The oil has been drifting away from Sulphur and toward Florida instead, and for that my family feels dubiously lucky. It’s like feeling grateful when a hurricane turns the other way or when the flood waters rise in someone else’s neighborhood.

We can usually call it a natural disaster, say prayers, and collect canned food to donate to those whose homes were destroyed.

But a broken oil rig pumping crude into the ocean is the result of human hands, not nature’s fury, and no reasonable nature lover could be happy to see the oil wash up on their neighbor’s shores. I know what my family would have lost if a different rig had gone down, and my heart aches for the losses of the communities closest to the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Consumers can take action

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