Why is oil still leaking uncontrollably in the Gulf of Mexico?  Why has every solution failed? How come we don’t know how to stop it?

Probably because this oil addiction has led us into uncharted territory, where the industrial pursuit for energy exceeds their ability to contain the environmental and human health impacts.  This uncharted territory is being coined as “Extreme Energy”.

Industry has never had to deal with a high pressure oil leak a mile below the surface of the ocean and didn’t have the proper contingency plans for emergencies.  Twenty five years ago, only 6 percent of our oil came from deep water wells, according to Daniel Gross’ article on “Extreme Energy“.

At this time, wells were drilled at only 1,000 feet deep, but the addiction has made the oil industry pursue deeper water.  Now they’re drilling below 5,000 feet of water!

Our dependence on oil has pushed us to the age of ‘Extreme Energy’ where increasingly risky environmental and public health trade-offs are accepted as the status quo in the ravenous pursuit of energy.  Oil companies are going to incredible lengths, poisoning communities, mucking local economies and destroying our natural and wild areas.

Obviously, we need to explore alternative forms of energy.  Imagine investing billions into clean energy.  Renewable energy.  Sustainable energy.  Anything but Extreme Energy!

While deep water drilling is in the public’s eye, there are other forms of Extreme Energy that are being relentlessly pursued, such as hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as fracking) for natural gas and mining for tar sands oil. These other types of Extreme Energy are flying under the radar, enabling a culture of disaster, disease and disregard for natural resources and communities.

If we learn anything from the oil spill in the Gulf, it should be the need to invest in renewable energy.  Not the need to look towards other forms of Extreme Energy where the environmental and human health stakes are just as high!

Over the next several weeks, the Air Hugger will share some posts on Extreme Energy, like fracking and tar sands oil, with a special focus on how they impact fenceline communities and human health. Stay tuned!

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