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How are you treating the world today?

Verde Laguna

June 18, 2010|Gustavo Grad

I don't know about you, but for myself it feels like we are at a critical moment of life on this planet. It seems the world is on fire and so are our hearts inflamed with sadness, anger, disgust — all states that reflect the ongoing destruction in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil spill could not have come at a worse time for the Gulf's sea life, wildlife and bird species. Late spring is the peak time for neo-tropical songbirds moving from the Yucatan Peninsula to Louisiana. As many as 25 million a day arrive during the northern migration. More than 70% of the country's water fowls frequent the gulf's waters, including the brown pelican, which is in its nesting season. Federally protected marine mammals — whales, dolphins and sea turtles — are among the species at risk. The 400 miles of shoreline near the spill include a national park and more than 20 national wildlife refuge areas. Biologists are concern about the affect on plankton and if fish larvae will not find food. We are talking an entire sensitive eco-system at risk.

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We can stop watching the live stream that continues to swirl over the size of this disaster from the 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) leaking per day from the damaged well, as first acknowledged by BP. More accurate estimates by the USGS of 840,000 gallons a day, the 1.05 million gallons calculated by other experts, or the worst case of 4.2 million gallons spilling into the Gulf every day are a reminder of what we have to do yesterday, an "Energy Plan for the XXI Century."

More than a century and a half after it was first discovered, oil continues to play an essential role in the global economy, despite the fears that reliance on petroleum are fueling rapid "climate change." This, despite the conclusion that world oil production would start its final permanent decline by 2010, as written years ago by Colin Campbell in "The End of Cheap Oil." Others concluded oil would decline before the end of this decade. However, there is an ongoing recognition among experts that peak oil production might indeed be upon us. Certainly as time moves on, the remaining oil reserves become more expensive as drilling and production activities shift to sites that are more difficult to access and that result in increasing liabilities. But we keep living and making decisions based on the assumption that oil and natural gas will remain plentiful and affordable, when in fact it will not.

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