Hearing about an oil spill sends us through a flurry of emotions. Sadness, anger, fear, and guilt. Knowing that we humans are the cause of this destruction is not a good feeling. Even though we don’t like seeing this happen time and time again, when you’re not directly affected it can be easy to fall back on old habits and go on living our lives as we normal do.
This time, the latest spill in Santa Barbara has been a huge wake-up call for me. As a UCSB Alumni, Santa Barbara will always be my home away from home. To know that the beaches I once enjoyed are now littered with oil and no longer suitable for surfers, campers, beachgoers, and wildlife is devastating. What’s more is that this isn’t the first spill that has happened in the area. In 1969 an estimated 3 million gallons were leaked from an oil well explosion that was so powerful it cracked the seafloor in 5 places! Yet we still continue to drill and build pipelines in the places we wish to protect.
Repeating the Same Thing and Expecting the Same Outcome
No, I did not get the quote wrong. Instead of hoping for a different outcome we have come to expect the same one. People aren’t saying “we never expected this to happen”, but rather that “it was inevitable” or “we knew this would happen”. So if we knew this would happen, why didn’t we do everything in our power to prevent it?
It’s more apparent than ever that we need to decrease our dependency on oil not only to stop these spills from happening, but because we all have to learn to live without it eventually. In my next blog post I will address some of the solutions and offer tips on how each of us can minimize the prevalence of oil in our daily lives. In the meantime, here is an infographic I made to provide some perspective on oil spills in the last 10 years. Also, check out the videos and links at the bottom of the page to learn more.
Great news segment from a friend of mine about the spill:
Main photo credit – Scott Shulman, ABC News