Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22: This Earth Day Brings Peril

By Sylvia Gurinsky

I've already seen one online posting today about the irony of the oil rig fire and collapse off the coast of Louisiana on this Earth Day.

At this point, 11 workers are missing, and the long-term disaster in pollution caused has yet to be determined.

This disaster - and that's exactly what it is - makes both President Barack Obama's recommended expansion of oil drilling and the Republican Party's "Drill, Baby, Drill" motto sound utterly ridiculous.

Monday night, the excellent PBS series "The American Experience" featured a documentary about the creation of Earth Day and the environmental movement, and the challenges that have occured since.

One of the most infuriating ones involves former President Jimmy Carter, who created the best environmental policy while he was in the White House, but has done nothing to advocate for it since then. (Too bad he hasn't spent his time lambasting Big Oil and his OPEC friends in the Arab world, instead of lambasting Israel for defending itself. Environmentally, this planet might be better off.)

With truly clean energy - wind, solar power and anything else that hasn't had an accident resulting in the loss of life - available, both the public and private sectors should concentrate solely on developing cheaper and accessible versions of those, instead of chasing expensive, dirty sources of energy that get this country into trouble, both here and overseas.

The lesson burning in the Gulf of Mexico right now should teach them that.

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