Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Standing Rock and Beyond

If you’re not saturated by politics at this point of the year, something has to be wrong with you. Regardless of the side you take on the political divide, you have to agree that it’s all been pretty excessive. Which is why this post isn’t about politics. It’s about the environment.

Standing Rock is a trending topic on the web and for good reason. It marks another attempt at establishing oil pipelines to keep finding new ways of drilling for and obtaining oil. Part of the problem is that this pipeline will go through Native American burial grounds. Another part is that it will be devastating for the surrounding echo systems. Yet another problem is that it will put millions of people’s health and lives at risk. But above all else, it is monumentally stupid AND lazy.

It’s 2016. Some physicians can operate robots to do surgery from another continent yet we still depend on fossil fuels? There’s technology for solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, but we need coal and oil? What’s funny is that coal AND oil share a couple of things in common: A.) They’re not really that effective in producing energy when compared to other sustainable sources. B.) They’re not clean. If there is such a thing as clean coal, by all means, eat a bit of it. C.) They’re black, thusly showing that the rich corporate people benefitting from these industries are in fact capable of loving something that is black.

That we in 2016 are still depending intensely on coal and oil for our energy should be shameful. There is the technology to be more efficient, cleaner, healthier, and kinder to the environment. In the last decade there have been thousands upon thousands of oil spills. Yet we insist on this ass backwards means to make a buck and move our economy.

People then say but people will be left out of jobs, which I challenge by asking is that the only thing they are capable of doing? Has our evolution stunted to the point where we cannot learn a new skill? Are we that incapable of any type of solution just because it’ll cost a job? Is there no way of training these same dedicated workers to use their knowledge in other areas?

I get that losing a job is scary but job stability should not be the reason we keep doing things. Nuclear power has intense risks and we will be paying for our arrogance thanks to Japan for decades to come. Coal and oil seem to be highly inefficient when it comes to the energy they produce and how we consume it. You take places in Europe and thanks to wind and solar power, they have a surplus of energy. Surplus. An excess. They have to pay people to USE energy (as seen in Germany). Yet we insist on coal, insist on oil, insist on plastic bags, insist on Styrofoam plates and cups… and wonder why the planet is dirty. The answer? Profit. It’s all about the profit for the people who are currently making a lot of money.

The thing is that oil is finite… it will run out. And what that will mean to the world, we don’t even know because the more we extract oil from the ground… the more we will begin to find out how necessary it is to maintain the current climate. But guess what will also run out. The amount of drinkable water we have access to if we keep poisoning our aquifers just for the sake of profit. Fracking is such a bad idea that it even SOUNDS like a bad idea. Seriously, would you like to get fracked? Does that sound like a fracking good idea? Seems like no.

But alas, people accuse people defending standing rock of being liberal hippies. People in government continue to touch themselves thinking about sweet oil. It doesn’t matter if sacred lands are desecrated. It doesn’t matter if it pollutes the world. It doesn’t matter if it makes us come off as dumb, lazy, unevolved, and as if we’re settling. It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way if you ask me. But what do I know, I’m just a tree hugging hippie wondering why the greatest country on Earth insists on its greatness to the point of never listening to reason… oh my, that does sound political. What a shame that it all boils down to politics, huh? 

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