One year ago today the Deepwater Horizon off shore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers, injuring scores more and hemorrhaging 5 million barrels of oil that contaminated nearly 700 miles of coastline. (Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill by the Numbers).
Lest we completely forget, and think something like this won’t happen again, know that 11 new deepwater and 49 shallow water drilling permits have been issued over the last year. (Offshore drilling: Slow comeback after BP ) . That’s less than before the Deepwater Horizon accident, but CNN reports that “Most Americans support increased offshore drilling. According to a recent CNN poll, 69% are in favor of expanding the practice, up from 49% right after the spill. “
As a species, humans tend to have a short memory – it’s what makes us take risks, try things, invent, create and procreate. It’s also the reason we often make the same mistakes over and over again. But we’re free to make choices, too, and we don’t have to make the same mistake here. Oil is a finite resource. Drilling won’t solve the problem of high gas prices or lessen the problems of climate change; only looking beyond oil to safe, clean, renewable energy resources will do that.
We don’t have to look back further than a year in our collective memory to see what can happen if we don’t exercise our innate inventiveness for better long term solutions to our energy needs.