Would you like your oceans premium or regular?

Personally, I prefer the low octane grade. You know, sea water without the petrochemical additives.

The man-made geyser in the Gulf hasn’t even been stopped yet and already conservatives are demanding that President Obama drop the moratorium on off-shore drilling.  Seriously. 

Of course, it’s not surprising that the half-witted half-governor, Sarah Palin, is all in for more drilling.  She of “Drill, baby, drill” fame no doubt sees an opportunity to make more money from big oil and to fill her campaign coffers for a presidential campaign should enough wingnuts encourage her to run.  Senators Murkowski and Coburn have blocked Senate resolutions for eliminating the cap on damages for oil companies like BP.  But somewhat surprisingly, Louisiana conservatives Vitter and Jindal have called for an end to the moratorium because it could cost jobs.  Are you kidding me?  It was off-shore drilling that shut down fishing and tourism in the state and they want to resume drilling without knowing the actual cause of this current catastrophe?

That seems a classic case of Republican logic – “The hell with the environment, we must protect big business!”

Of course, if you listen to Alaska Congressman Don Young, the BP gusher is just nature taking its course.  “After all, oil seeps through the ocean floor all the time.  It’s natural.”  But he fails to recognize the difference between natural seepage and the man-made gusher that, by even the most conservative estimates, has pumped millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf.

But as revolting as these Republicans are, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this catastrophe is that it didn’t have to happen. It’s not only a product of lax government oversight and corporate greed. It’s a product of individual choices.

Most people chose to ignore Jimmy Carter’s warnings in the late 70s and continued to increase their oil consumption.  So our cities continued to sprawl and large SUVs and Hummers replaced econoboxes. More and more people moved to the suburbs far away from jobs and commuted 10, 20, 30 miles or more each day.

Corporations began “outsourcing” manufacturing jobs overseas and started shipping products halfway around the world to cut costs by a few dollars or even pennies. More and more people built showy McMansions thousands of square feet larger than they need. The list goes on and on.

The fact is, we’re addicted to fossil fuels. And now that addiction is turning much of our world’s oceans into dead zones where nothing can survive.

The good news is that there are many viable alternatives to oil. We can do as President Obama proposes and redirect the oil subsidies to the wind and solar industries. We can subsidize and encourage other sources of renewable energy such as native grasses that can be used for ethanol. We can replace long-haul trucks with an efficient rail system. We can convert short-haul trucks to natural gas which doesn’t require off-shore drilling. We can replace many domestic flights with high-speed rail. We can replace freeway traffic with light rail systems. 

And we can shout down the dimwits who continue to chant “Drill, baby, drill.”