1sunfight’s Weblog

May 25, 2010

Pandora’s Box has been opened…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katharina in Ghent @ 1:18 pm

… and then they threw away the key. A couple of months ago I expressed my disappointment about Barack Obama’s announcement that he wants to approve more off-shore drilling in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and before Alaska. Other people didn’t agree with me, because at that point the creation of jobs and stimulation of the economy seemed more important than environmental concerns, but I think this whole issue needs to be reevaluated.

Five weeks ago a platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, and since then we’ve been flooded with pictures of an environmental catastrophe, that is absolutely unprecedented. You think that Chernobyl was bad? Think again. By now the oil has replaced between a fifth and a quarter of the water in the Gulf, and there is no telling when, if ever, BP will be able to plug the hole. Indeed, one has to question the sincerity of BP’s efforts, since its own director mentioned that the “environmental impact will be very, very modest”, and reports have surfaced, according to which containers upon containers of oil dispersants are sitting in Louisiana, waiting in vain to be used.

The reason why Europe’s winters are so mild, compared to North America, is the Gulf Stream, a conveyor belt that brings warm water to the shores of Scandinavia, keeping its harbors ice-free and usually saving us from the -40◦C that are so common in Canada and northern US. Guess where the “Gulf Stream” got its name from?

I’m not an expert, I don’t know whether oil moves the same way as water does, but it doesn’t take nuclear science to see that the spilled oil can not be contained in the Gulf; eventually it will seep into the Atlantic. Already the breeding grounds for tunas and other commercially important species are either threatened or destroyed, once the oil starts spreading in the Atlantic, the word “disaster” will get a whole new meaning. Like salmon? Choose Pacific, because Atlantic fish farms will eventually be destroyed. Just because it’s a farm doesn’t mean that the fish don’t live in the sea. Similarly, lobster season may soon be a word from the past.

Just a few days before disaster struck, I read an article about protests against a big wind farm project off the coast of Cape Cod. Now I ask you, what’s the worst that can happen if the wind blows over a turbine?

I haven’t traveled much in the US, only to NY and Florida, and from there a short trip to the Bahamas. I thoroughly enjoyed the white sandy beaches in Florida and Bahamas, but I sincerely fear that they will soon become a thing from the distant memory. Just like tuna sandwich.

wind farm protests:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/20/cape.cod.wind.farm/index.html?iref=allsearch

modest impact:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100518/wl_uk_afp/usblastoilenergypollutionbritain_20100518102130

environmental impact:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-long-will-oil-spill-last

Gulf Stream:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Stream

Chernobyl:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster_effects

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