As we enter the third week of the Gulf Coast oil spill, various strategies have tried and failed to stop the flow of 210,000 gallons of oil per day. These include, but are not limited to, roping off the area, a failed cap system, untested chemical dispersants and even stuffing the hole with shredded tires.
Those 210,000 gallons have translated into roughly $350 million in costs — at this point. While the news is abuzz with stopping the flow, we should be more concerned with stopping the flow of oil, for good.
It’s now time that we stop paying for gasoline, along with its “mistakes,” in the form of catastrophic oil spills and begin paying for environmentally-friendly alternatives.
That $350 million could have been used for research into and the purchase of green technology had it not been swallowed up by the oil spill. For between $6,000 to $22,000, individuals can buy a wind turbine to help power their own homes. Toyota Priuses retail for $21,000. A simple reusable grocery bag is as cheap as $0.99.
When the world seemed close to peak oil in the ’70s, discussion was made about getting away from the stranglehold that oil has on the American economy. The Exxon-Valdez spill raised the same questions and the recent West Virginia mine disaster highlighted the human loss of life we must tolerate in order to run on fossil fuel.
Now, the sailors on board the British Petroleum oil rig have perished, as well as six seabirds. The cost in both life and money is too much. It is beyond time that America makes a firm stance: drilling here, drilling now, drilling anywhere is no longer a viable option.
Wind and water power technology is out there — the money just has to appear in order to make it a reality in American homes. I propose that BP, in addition to paying for the spill, contribute an equal amount to implementing green technology. Will that bankrupt the company? Maybe, but then there’s one less company sucking and spilling oil from the earth.