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Oil Spill a Wake Up Call

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Who's To Blame For Gulf Oil Spill?

The Gulf oil spill is a wake up call for all of us.

The public is quick to point blame at British Petroleum. BP is partly to blame but so are we. It is our demand for oil that drives oil tankers into harbour cities. BP is responding to our thirst for oil.

If we want to protect our waters and marine life we need to turn to alternative energy sources. Solar, wind, and water based energy needs to be developed and put into mass usage.

The technology is out there but the market is failing to respond to the needs of our eco-system. If oil companies can continue to make a profit through the use of oil why would they turn to cleaner burning fuels?

The oil basically has to run out or the planet has to turn black for any transformative change in consumption and production to happen.

This is where the government needs to play an active role and create incentives for the energy sector to produce clean, safe, and toxic-free alternatives.

The fact is an oil tanker is a floating disaster waiting to happen!

The pollution and toxins that come from oil use is threatening our existence.

Millions of birds and marine life are put at risk with oil spills. The oil covers the bodies of these creatures. This affects their temperature levels. Some creatures die of hypothermia. Others ingest the oil and this does potentially fatal damage to their vital internal organs.

We must remember we are all connected.

As one part of the food chain starts to fall apart; it leads to the deterioration of another.

Oil spills reduce how much sunlight can reach the ocean waters. This limits photosynthesis and other essential life giving processes which depend on sunlight.

Coastal communities depend on the oceans for fish and seafood. Our fish is now filled with mercury and toxins.

There is only so much that nature can do to clean up our environment if we keep on polluting it.

So how can we live more in harmony with nature?

The corporate world can start by thinking longer term about the impact of their decisions. It would be great if the fiscal year was based on a three year cycle instead of a one year.

Companies can be encouraged to invest in the research and development of alternate energy sources.

Maybe we can turn our trash into energy.

Oil tankers can be banned from entering major harbours and sensitive coastal habitats.

Citizens can demand that their governments legislate and enforce stringent environmental protection rules and regulations.

Our dependence on non-renewable resources has to end.

We cannot sustain our lifestyle the way it is. The rest of the world is becoming more developed and is demanding more of the Earth’s limited resources.

It is essential that we come up with more sustainable solutions.

It is worthwhile to protect our planet so we are healthy and our future generations inherit an eco-system that is as pristine as possible and secure.

Alex Sangha, BSW (UBC), MSc (London School of Economics)
Registered Social Worker

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