Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Oil

Yesterday was a wonderful bicycle ride out the back side of Lake Whatcom, down SR9 to Sedro Woolley, and then back up Old 99. It was a glorious day of sun and seventies, and a pesky headwind across the Skagit flats the kept my speed lower than anticipated. I still manage fifty or sixty miles. I have a friend staying with me from Michigan by was of Alaska, and I told him that Saturday's perfect weather is pretty much what we can expect all summer. Once we get through June, at least.

But I cannot stop thinking about how virtually every element of our life is reliant upon petroleum products. I've read where it takes thirty calories of energy to produce one calories of food in the U.S. agri-economy. I wonder if we will ever question at what cost this wasteful lifestyle comes to our health, environment and overall quality of life.

Although the Gulf of Mexico (and potentially the northern Atlantic Ocean) can pretty much be considered a dead body of water for the next decade (or possibly much longer - I've read more accurate description of the oil spewing from the sea floor is more in line with 850m gallons per day), there is a similar catastrophe brewing in the Athabascar. The tailings ponds are said to be the second largest damn in the world (next to the Three Gorges Dam) and it is already leaking into the Athabascar River. The Arctic Ocean is consequently the next vulnerable body of water to fall prey to our pursuit of petroleum.

Oh well, at last gasoline is still three bucks a gallon - at the pump at least. I wonder what the true price of a gallon of gasoline is?

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