How Much Oil Has Leaked Into the Gulf of Mexico?

It's an incomprehensible amount, but this real-time ticker (source: PBS) gives one some idea of the rapidity of which entire ecosystems are being killed. It is easy to feel helpless and hopeless in the face of this massive disaster, but now more than ever, is the time to do something about it.  Politicians and big oil are playing the blame game, and the liability for this spill is already spinning out into a very complicated legal web which will no doubt result in one of the largest, probably most protracted legal battle in history. However, more important than who will pay monetary damages is to acknowledge that the earth, and by extension, we who inhabit earth, will suffer damages that are only going to get worse. It's critical to stop this continual gushing and more importantly, ensure it never happens again.

No other country consumes more oil than America. America consumes the majority (more than 20%) of the world's oil, but has less than two percent of the world's oil reserves. We need to reduce, if not eliminate entirely, our "oil addiction," and pour our efforts into developing clean, sustainable methods to power our lives. If our earth becomes an uninhabitable wasteland, it won't really matter who cashes out at the end of the day, or who lands in jail as a result of  gross negligence. Ultimately, we all will pay.

It's hard to remember, but before healthcare reform and related hoopla took over the country's attention last summer, the House had passed "the most sweeping climate change policy ever considered by Congress."  The bill aimed to incrementally cap America's production of greenhouse gases, reducing it by 83% by 2050, mandating that 15% of the nation's electricity come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020, and investing in renewable energies and sustainable technologies. The effort in the Senate stalled last fall. When the Copenhagen climate summit came and went, with disappointing, diffident results, by the start of the year, climate legislation seemed to have reached a standstill if not taken several slides back.

With the Gulf oil spill gushing (it's still going! yet it started at the end of April. April!), President Obama began pushing publicly once again for an energy and climate bill. And in the aftermath of the spill, polls show that most Americans support strong actions to reform climate legislation.

Yet, a vote in the Senate this week suggests bleak prospects for any climate legislation change. The issue was a GOP proposal to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases. While that resolution (thankfully) failed by a vote of 47-53, the narrow gap  demonstrates that even in the wake of the massive oil spill, Congress still remains divided over how best to address climate change.

This is unfathomable to me; we couldn't ask for a more violent wake-up call for change than this oil spill. At least, I don't want to imagine one. Now, more than ever, it is critical to take a stand, make your voice heard, and contact your Senator, urging him or her to vote in favor of a change to support new, renewable clean energy. In addition to writing and calling your Senators and Representatives, you can add your name in support of President Obama's clean energy plan, and sign this petition (via, which will be sent to the White House and Congress, demanding an end to America's addiction to oil.

1 comment:

  1. I find so many problems with all of this. This administrations has turned this disaster into a huge political platform and as a result has done absolutely nothing to actually solve the problem. As it is not in his best interest.

    The fact is that we do not consume 20% of the worlds oil and we have far more than 2% of the oils reserves. That is a blatant lie, one of many Obama used in his speech the other night, to help Americans feel better about the fact he is an idiot and can't seem to lead and do his job at all.

    If it were not for our stupid political policies, BP would never be drilling down that deep in that location. Our government prevented any drilling closer, in more shallow waters. We have limited the amount of Oil we get out of Alaska and then we sell more oil to foreign entities, from Alaska, than we actually use. Which is stupid.

    Not to mention we have more shale in the center of our own country than one could possible imagine. It was one of the largest finds in world history, but again, legislation prevents us from using any of it right now.

    Then the Cap and Trade bill is a farce, that hasn't even worked in other countries. It is one thing to change our policies in this country and allow more Nuclear power, allow natural gas pipelines to be created and allow all the oil and shale we have, to actually be used. But to charge every man, women and child for every emission they make, is ridiculous.

    For more than 80 years this country has neglected the use of alternative, clean methods energy creation and instead continued to invest in oil based fuels. So I agree, we need to block the oil cartels from preventing us from taking a more clean and efficient stance on how we produce our own energy. Solar has come a long ways, but not nearly as far as it could have, just as wind power and even wave power have come a long ways. But if we had not as a country blocked the technology growth and allowed the oil cartels to do what they have done over the years, we would be so much further.

    I think people need to urge their congressman and senators to get off their butts and take action. Why hasn't anyone taken action to allow BP the ability to stop the leak?

    Why has everyone sat on their butts waiting for the Obama administration to do something? When instead they could have petitioned to waive the bill or law that prevents foreign ships from helping with the cleanup? Why was an a moratorium placed on BP from digging two more wells, that would take 3 months to drill, in order to relieve the pressure of the current well and stop the leak? If for no other reason, than to have a plan B in case all other measures failed to work. It is the only known way of actually stopping the leak.

    Does anyone honestly believe that BP wants the oil to continue spilling? How many people think about the 11 men who died doing their job? Everyone but the politicians want the oil spill to be fixed.

    Most politicians see this as a chance to advance their agenda. The democrats see it as a way to push a horrible bill through congress, while the republicans see it as a way to make the Obama Administration look bad. It is so disgusting, the way people are acting. Yet if ANY politician cared, they would be taking action to do something, that was really going to help.

    So everyone should be asking Congress why they are doing nothing. Contact them to find out why they wont allow foreign vessels help with the spill. Find out why they wont allow BP to actually do EVERYTHING in their power to stop the spill. Find out why they want to tax Americans into oblivion, in the name of Ecologic Responsibility, when their are many ways to promote efficiency and technological innovation without using scare tactics and creating an ecological revenue exchange. Buying and selling credits for emissions, is the stupidest idea ever and that needs to be stopped, before people make billions of dollars on our stupidity, greed and desire to do something that is on the surface the right thing to do.