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I am a mystic madman, a wandering wildman, scholar of esoterica, dilettante sadhu, dready-headed hippie (only have a few jata on the back of my head right now, though more be forming of this third set of knotted hair), gentle yogi, fierce foe of falsity. I was a preacher, but I renounced that. I was married, but she renounced me. I was a grad student at one of the top universities in the world on my way to becoming a professor, but I realized they taught lies there too. I am protector of souls, lover of mountains, smoker of herb, fond of hot springs, oceans and lakes and rivers and rain and sunshine, devotee of Devi.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oil Disaster in the Gulf and the Alternatives to Destroying Our Environment for Energy

As the consequences of the oil seeping from the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico becomes apparent, it should become quite obvious even to the dullest fool and least informed of the opiated masses that drilling for oil off the coasts of our beautiful land--or any other land for that matter, is a bad idea.  With the fragile marshlands of the Gulf Coast imperiled by a disaster that seems likely to be greater in scope and effect than the Exxon spill in Alaska's once pristine waters, the livelihood of fishermen and those reliant on tourism severely threatened, and the irresponsible practices of the petroleum industry as seemingly endemic, as wide scale extraction of toxic minerals that were meant to be left under the ground is always prone towards either immediate disaster or continued negative impacts on the environment generally, it is clearly time to mobilize a major shift in the energy economy of this nation and the world.

The alternatives are viable and minimally impactive:

Biodiesel and ethanol from algae can and should replace petroleum consumption almost entirely within a span of ten to twenty years.  Utilizing an area of only 15% of the area of the Sonoran Desert (18,000 sq. miles, or approximately 134x134 miles), spread across the southwest United States and perhaps into Mexico (assuming equitable trade practices), biodiesel and ethanol production utilizing algae (likely grown in salt water so as to minimize freshwater use) could completely replace the current transportation fuel needs of this nation.  These plants can be made to be minimally impactive, and in fact if placed in such places as dry lake beds where little to no species of animals already maintain homes, the shade from the algae growing containers could provide at least temporary habitat for many desert-dwelling species.

Insofar as electricity production, solar mirror generating stations utilizing the heat produced to spin turbines could power the entire Unites States electrical grid utilizing an are of 92x92 miles, likewise spread throughout the southwest and into Mexico, and likewise not only scarcely impacting the environment but also providing shade for life to inhabit where was formerly uninhabitable, such as dry lake beds or other spans of hot desert land without any natural vegetation.  Wind turbines, home-based solar and wind power, and perhaps some form of tidal energy harvesting combined with the aforementioned would certainly suffice, and these all combined would impact less land area far less detrimentally than current areas currently being impacted by coal mining.


1 comment:

Lisa said...

Totally agree! Great post.