Wednesday, December 10, 2008

why we SHOULD drill, baby, drill here at home

Wow, this just hit me in a flash while I was reading this email message (below) from Robert Redford (Can we talk? Can I call you Bobby?), via NRDC Action Fund. Let's start drilling domestically for crude! I'm utterly serious!

We've become so dependent on foreign oil in part because we keep ourselves at a safe remove from the most direct experience of the environmental degradation we claim to abhor: the drill sites. Yes, there's Texas (sigh... there will always be Texas), and certain sites scattered here and there in Pennsylvania and California, etc., but by far the vast majority of our petroleum (net 58% per E.I.A. 2007 stats) comes from somewhere else. We even put a lot of our rigs offshore, I'd argue, because it offers the (piss-poor) illusion that we're keeping the front yard nice 'n' clean that way (well, okay, there's also the minor detail of the oil deposits actually being out there on the continental shelf... picky!).

Ahem. So, why is Mr. Redford asking me to help stop Bushco's last-ditch effort to help out his oil cronies? Because we all love the natural beauty of Utah's Canyonlands, of course. But that's exactly the reason we should drill there: because we love it! Because if we were honest with ourselves about our addiction to The Juice, we would not try to sweep the dirty work of drilling under the rug of our collective unconscious. We should put up rigs in our neighborhoods and our city parks and our state and national parks-- all the places we treasure as pure and beautiful and worth protecting-- and refineries, too! Let's not forget the 2nd act of our morality play! Mini-refineries beside every drilling site... and distribution (trucking) stations next to those! Yes! Do it!

And why all this madness? Because only then would we see the truth of our folly; then, like the unruly dogs we've become, we would begin our proper training and put our own faces right there in our own mess. It's creepy, really, when you think about it: we decry the destruction of Gaia's glory, we teach our kids to recycle and turn off the lights-- our whole modern aesthetic is founded on glorifying nature-- and yet every day we take our blinders off the shelf, put them securely on our heads, and get into our effing cars! and turn on more lights than we need! and take long, hot, luxurious showers! and eat kiwi fruit shipped from New Zealand! and drink water from effing Fiji! WTF?! Doesn't this seem a bit... oh, what's the word?... insane?!

I say let's drill in the most conspicuous places we can find any crude-- no field too small. Let's drill to make that visual, visceral connection between action and consequence so that we can no longer sweep it under the "foreign sources" rug (that rug's getting a bit full anyway!). Let's stop pretending it's OPEC's fault that we're stark, raving mad. Let's do the dirty work here, as soon as we can and in earnest: let's bring it on home.

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At 12/11/2008 8:47 AM, Anonymous Christopher Dunning said...

Well, I get your point, and I know you mean it, but isn't this like cutting off your nose to spite your face?

And I don't know that this would have the desired effect. There are plenty of desecrations of our land already and people still go about their lives with little concern or awareness.

I appreciate your idea of bringing it home and making people more directly aware of the problem and the consequence of their energy consumption, but I don't think this would work unless every home had a miniature oil refinery in their yard that they had to keep up and deal with the smell and pollution. Or even one in every town.

Impacting wildlife habitats in a remote natural area that few people will see isn't going to bring it home for anyone but those already paying attention.

At 12/14/2008 5:52 AM, Blogger MarMarNH said...

You underestimate what people will put up with once it's done. We've had some ugly shit in our lives throughout the industrial revolution and since, and if we start putting rigs in beautiful places, they've lost their beauty forever. We thought the farmlands would never be paved over - and now it's done and gone forever with kids having no recollection of anything ever being any different. We have chased and hunted and allowed invasive species to completely and forever alter our once wild and tame places, and no one remembers what it's like to fish in a lake that is not stocked by humans. I hope you are tongue in cheek with your post. It's a risk too great to stake our future on.


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