While I make available the compassionate and supportive Light of Reiki to all who have been in recent hurricane zones, including hurricane Ike’s victims, and give large gratitude that my loved ones are safe, I also wonder about related concerns where our choices as people and nations are so very critical right now.

If you look at the archives of this blog, you’ll notice that there is a strong environmental and social responsibility component. We are not islands, and even if we were we are interdependent and interconnected in an ecology of life and being. I feel uneqivocally that while we are here on this beautiful blue planet, our spirituality is inextricably linked with all the elements of life and society as we know it today. This is sometimes known as engaged spirituality. And our engagement is being desparately demanded now. Our attention, our voice, our vote. For if we’re not engaged, the forces that shape life and society dictate and often without truth or even a modicum of superior solution-thinking.

There are many reasons not to drill offshore, which are listed below. Let’s stay topical for a minute and look at the impact of hurricanes.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused “six major, five medium, and over 5,000 minor oil and hazmat” spills, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. An estimated nine million gallons of oil were spilled, and that estimate does not even include the 5,000 minor spills. See this slideshow of the spills. Hurricane Gustav, on the other hand, plowed through more than 4,000 offshore drilling platforms and 33,000 miles of pipeline in the Gulf.

Oil is a human-wide addiction. It isn’t any different from any other addiction, except that its damage and devastation is global. When an individual is addicted, he or she causes damage and suffering to themselves, loved ones and sometimes to a wider sphere. It’s still tragic, but contained somewhat. Oil addiction is massive.

Without the type of energy oil provides, life stops. Energy is mission-critical to life. But feeding the addiction is not the solution. We’re dealing with a fossil fuel, i.e., it’s going to eventually dry up, it’s nonrenewable. Here are 10 reasons Greenpeace says offshore drilling is dumb:

10. Offshore oil drilling won’t impact gas prices today, and it won’t have a significant impact on gas prices in the future.

9. This is nothing more than a money grab by the oil companies – who are already making record-breaking profits.

8. We burn 25% of the world’s oil here in the U.S., but we have only 3% of the world’s oil reserves. So even if all offshore oil magically came to market today, the vast majority of our oil would continue to be imported, and we wouldn’t see price relief at the pump.

7. The current moratorium was put in place decades ago to protect us from the danger of oil spills along our coastlines and beaches.

6.  Burning fossil fuels like oil causes global warming, which causes stronger hurricanes, which will threaten the very offshore drilling rigs being proposed, which will contribute to even more global warming.

5. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy within the next 10 years. The billions of dollars that would be spent on offshore oil drilling just postpones the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

4. Oil exploration requires massive seismic testing – which threatens whales and dolphins.

3. Oil prices are set on the global oil market, so American oil is no cheaper than Saudi oil. We won’t get a discount for oil drilled in the U.S.

2. We can’t solve the world’s energy problems with the same drilling that created them.

1. Renewable energy is available now, so it’s time to walk away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.

Furthermore:

  • The United States burns 24 percent of the world’s oil, yet we only have 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves. CITATION: Energy Information Administration, “U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquid Resources, 1999 Annual Report,” DOE/EIA-0216 (99) (December 2000).
  • There is no correlation between increased drilling and lower gas prices. The number of drilling permits increased by 361 percent from 1999 to 2007. And yet gas prices more than doubled in that time. CITATION: A new investigative report from the House Committee on Natural Resources studied the current system of drilling permits on federal lands and in federal waters.
  • Drilling for more oil in the U.S. won’t result in lower gas prices because oil prices are set on the global oil market. This means that all oil produced around the world is sold all at the same price. As U.S. citizens we wouldn’t get a discount just because we drilled for it on U.S. soil. CITATION: This site explains why crude oil prices are similar all around the world. Prices vary only to reflect the cost of transporting crude oil to that market and the quality differences between the various types of oil.
  • By requiring all automobiles in the U.S. to achieve 35 mpg by 2020 we will save 1 million barrels of oil per day. CITATION: New York Times article, citing The Union of Concerned Scientists in their reporting.

An excellent resource on Clean Energy 101 has been put together by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It’s introduction states:

No single solution can meet our society’s future energy needs. The answer lies instead in a family of diverse energy technologies that share a common thread: they do not deplete our natural resources or destroy our environment.

Renewable energy technologies tap into natural cycles and systems, turning the ever-present energy around us into usable forms. The movement of wind and water, the heat and light of the sun, heat in the ground, the carbohydrates in plants-all are natural energy sources that can supply our needs in a sustainable way. Because they are homegrown, renewables can also increase our energy security and create local jobs.

There’s a lot to take in regarding this matter. Fortunately much of the work has been done for us. All we have to do is absorb some of the information, and then make choices on how we spend our dollar, our voice and our vote. We can no longer abdicate the responsibility of being informed. Political commercials, sound bytes, the ticker tape at the bottom of your TV screen are simply not enough to guide our choices in the face of today’s complexities.

The facts are readily available. It’s a matter of increasing our brain’s processing power by getting involved. This means an end to being spoon-fed regurgitated swill, told what to think, and getting by with low-information slogans. Just as you seek the best information when it comes to your health, diet, kids, and your spirituality, so must it be the same in every matter, for every minute counts and as global citizens our roles and function are so much more significant than even a generation ago.

Offshore drilling, oil addiction & Hurricanes