A local resident felt compelled to send us a photo of a dead bird, found on the shore in the U.S., covered in oil. Its death, he asserted, is on “our hands” because we “live in big houses” and “drive cars”.
The oil event—it is hardly a “spill” at this point– is due to many things, not the least of which is the failure in the U.S. to conserve energy. Anyone who has travelled to the U.S. knows the cars are big and so are the air conditioning bills… people in Florida in particular seem to drive everywhere.
But also complicit is the U.S. government in its failure to regulate drilling operations or even to provide proper oversight. The Deepwater drilling project did not undergo any environmental assessment, and no equipment or facilities were deemed necessary in case of an emergency. They quite simply didn’t plan for one, and now look.
Here is a chart prepared by consultants Torrie Smith for the David Suzuki Foundation in the report Beyond Kyoto, on the potential for improving how we meet our electrical power needs, factoring in environmental effects. Note that industrial wind rates lowest, and conservation rates highest.
As Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail remarked in a recent article, Ontario is the “envy of the world” because we already have renewable energy—hydro. The best approach would be to employ conservation and improvements to the efficiency of the resources we already have, not tear up the land and affect wildlife and people in order to develop an inefficient and unreliable resource.