BP Oil Spill Reactions: Have You Changed Your Energy Habits?

| 7/2/2010 1:55:32 PM

Tags: question to readers, oil spill, energy,

Oil rig at sundown 

The BP oil spill and the resulting actions (or lack thereof) of the people our nation trusted have left many Americans disheartened. It seems like every day there is another news story about the wreckage left behind by this manmade disaster. Here at Mother Earth News, we’ve been tracking the story’s progress as well by updating our readers and learning about potential oil spill clean-up methods.

While it’s difficult to imagine that anything good could come out of such an unfortunate situation, we’re willing to look for the positive. After all, mistakes carry wisdom in their wakes.

Studying the causes of the spill can lead us closer to important changes. If you believe, as many do, that the oil spill was the result of a string of mistakes within the government and between big business executives, you can choose to stay informed and vote with your mind and your dollars. If you believe that it is our nation’s dependence on oil that led us to this place, then you can take steps away from that crutch.

At Mother Earth News, we’ve been spreading the word about sustainable energy sources for years. In a recent article, we focused on wind energy as an alternative to offshore drilling (Why Offshore Wind Energy Is a No-Brainer Compared to Offshore Oil Drilling). At this time when the fallibility of depending on oil for energy is so apparent, our nation may be ready for an energy makeover.

We want to know if you’ve changed your energy habits in the months since the BP oil spill began. Do you plan to make changes in the future? Let us know by posting a comment below.

7/11/2010 9:40:35 PM

Has the oil spill dramatically changed my life? No. Simply because I now live in the midwest. Will I make more changes to reduce my foot print? Yes. My opinion on the oil spill is this: Did we learn nothing after the Exxon Valdez in the Northwest? Arn't there at least a few people in power (scientists, doctors, environmentalists, etc.) sitting in a room somewhere over the past twenty years or so, thinking about how to avoid or at least contain situations like this? I find it incredible that the spill has been allowed to continue as long as it has without someone in power saying that they've been considering different scenarios to stop more damage from being done. So far the only thing I've heard is drilling two more shafts. A waste of time considering the amount of oil flowing into the water on an hourly basis.

alinda harrison
7/10/2010 10:18:32 PM

What do I think? I think this disaster is a wake-up call for all of us. It's brought to attention the vast number of off-shore wells that are feeding our collective thirst for oil. All the oil companies seem to be drilling and this could have happened with any of them (although I will no longer buy BP gas and further line the BP CEO's pockets due to to his refusal to accept any personal responsiblity for the actions of his company.) The challenge for all of us is to wean ourselves of our dependence on oil. For me that means condensing trips and carpooling even more than before. It means cutting back on the use of oil-based plastics and reusing things I already have rather than buying new. It means doing business locally (in walking distance) and supporting the development of mass transportation. I hope to see in my lifetime the day when oil companies stop looking for new places to drill because there is no longer enough interest in their product to warrent further production. peace

7/10/2010 1:36:36 PM

It does not help that in the USA, companies like Chevron hold the rites to automotive sized batteries so that vehicles like the Toyota RAV 4 Ev are illegal to be built here, and those elsewhere can't be sold here without their permission. "This is the Nickel Metal Hydride pack in the Toyota RAV4-EV, using "gen-III" technology that the Chevron-funded lawsuit penalized them for using when Chevron's JV cobasys won $30 million and a settlement from PEVE, which had been improving NiMh since it went into production in 1997. PEVE (Toyota and Panasonic) might have prevailed, at law, but may have stood no chance fighting the oillies in the real world. So they surrendered." I just have two words for Chevron...Eminent Domain! The US Government should force them to allow their use!

michael d. chapek
7/9/2010 4:00:41 PM

I started doing this before the BP spill, but I drive the best mpg car I can find and afford. I have a 4cyl, manual 5sp, 1992 Toyota Camry which gets 34mpg. It's no speed demon, but it is one cheap running car. Keep it clean and fluid levels up and one of the most important, the tire pressures up. I always fill the tires to the max psi and check often. I don't drive aggressively. Pretend that you have an egg between your foot and the gas peddle. Time your approach to stoplights so that you don't have to come to a complete stop. I try to schedule my appointments so they can be done on the same days, or at times when I have to go that way anyways for something else so I don't have to make any more trips than I have to. Even though I live in a small town, I don't just run to the store every time I get a craving for something, I mostly buy food 2x a month, other than milk. Sometimes I take my bike to town. Mostly, to save as much money on gas as possible, don't drive any more than you have to. Lastly I write my Representatives often asking for the government to set standards for alternative vehicles so that they can get behind a push for the infrastructure needed to make alternative energy vehicles viable. As far as changing habits since the BP spill: I don't stop at BP gas stations any more. I'm embarrassed to be seen filling up at one. I know, the stations are supposed to be locally owned, but it's embarrassing and just the sight of the logo makes me mad.

george works
7/9/2010 1:22:18 PM

I agree with Steve's comment so much I wish I'd written it. I expected problems caused by fossil fuels, so six years ago my wife and I retired to a Caribbean island small enough to walk across. We installed solar panels for most of our electricity needs. We installed a solar water heater. Our water comes from rainwater collected in a cistern. I learned how to raise goats, cows and chickens in a pasture and now raise our eggs and meat. Shelley learned how to garden and now grows most of our fruit and vegetables. I'm in the process of converting a used pickup truck to electric drive. Our fossil fuel use is now minuscule compared to when we lived in suburban Virginia, both commuted to work and shopped at the supermarket, and we love our life here. Don't rely on politicians to solve the big problems, they don't know how. Think globally, act locally.

7/9/2010 11:15:22 AM

Here in Australia, many of my friends and I are refusing to get BP products. We think that their behaviour in response to the destruction of the gulf's ecology has been shocking, appalling. We have listened to journalists here who have been moved to tears by the suffering of the birds and animals, and by BP's manifestly inadequate response. There have been many people wringing their hands with despair at the company's intransigent refusal to allow anyone near the rig. Our thoughts and deep sympathy are with the people of Louisiana in particular. I hope that sanity prevails and BP stops blocking access to the rig. Many, many experts all around the globe wish to help; BP should let them. Until they do, indeed until they make full restitution for the wholesale destruction they have caused, they will be boycotted by many concerned consumers all over the world.

linda pierucki
7/9/2010 10:00:26 AM

As this 'clean-up' continues, it becomes increasingly clear that carbon-trading profits are the cause of the spill itself and the continued foot-dragging on the clean-up!No viable alternative energy source is yet available and wont be as neither wind nor solar is reliable and not efficient on a large scale. Nuclear takes far too long for approvals and the disposal problem has yet to be solved. Hydroelectric is a 'no-no' for the environmentalists, who want all dams removed. These same environmentalists have managed to shut down drilling on land and pushed the oil business into deep water-where it is impossible to control safety. Now we have an administration and attendant bureaucracy that has delayed clean-up efforts until it is too late. At the same time, the enviros are attempting to gain control of hundreds of thousands of acres up the Mississippi and near the coast to turn them into wetlands-the plans were written well before the well was begun and the maps are available on-line. Every possible obstacle has been placed in the way of the States who have tried to avert this ecological disaster-and it continues. The obvious intent is to remove human inhabitants from watersheds and raise the cost of power via huge 'carbon trade' schemes . . .follow the money!! The end result is a loss of freedom to live in rural areas and poverty based on the cost of energy. It also kills any possibility that job creation will occur.This is a sad, sick scam! It is tyranny of the highest order!

7/4/2010 12:14:15 PM

These are the changes I’ve made in my life over the years as I have become more aware of these issues. I haven’t done anything different since the Gulf Oil Release. From my point of view on the world, the only issues that matter are: • World population/global poverty • Global climate change • Carbon based fuel energy (peak oil, the Gulf oil release is a symptom). All else is just distraction. Working on anything else is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Looking at our political system, expecting anything useful from a politician, a lobbyist or a big business person is like waiting for Godot. All meaningful change begins at the individual level. For the individual, focus on doing what can be done effectively for yourself and your friends/community, and what is best for the world, and don’t be distracted by things that are beyond your control. (personal responsibility) Always vote; pick the least damaging politician or policy, but always vote. Even though government is totally ineffective on these most important issues, maybe the potential for damage can be minimized. Also, vote with money. I cast my money votes in this order 1) Co-ops & Credit Unions, 2) Employee owned businesses, 3) locally owned small businesses, and 4) the “greenest” “large” businesses I can find. (have to do my homework here) As the hippies used to say, think globally, act locally.

7/2/2010 7:18:26 PM

What do I think,first off my opinion (not that it matters much)is the root cause.Root cause is this.The suits (executives)took over the rig and started 'calling the shots'according to the testimony given.You don't put an accountant in charge of running a mine excavator do you?Well, in a nutshell that is what BP did at the expense of millions of peoples livelihoods and at the cost of 11 souls.I am a blue collar worker in charge of others and if I see a situation that I consider dangerous in progress I will shut the situation down even if it means my job.I think it's too bad that the maintenance operator who was watching the situation unfold could'nt get to the engines in time;the engines should have shut down immediately on overspeed(and I wonder where the automatic overspeed systems were when I heard the testimony)but in any case keep the suits off the rigs and out of the mines.Unless they worked on a rig or did construction of that nature or mined coal before themselves,they know nothing about what we blue collar types do or what we have to go through in order to accomplish what the suits want.There are procedures and policies,not only established by the government but also by corporations to keep issues such as this from happening.It seems a lot of procedures were skipped,engineering misconstrued and miscommunication abounded all at our expense.If I had an option to use something other than gas,even heating oil,I would..

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!