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A few words about the oil spill

By Reuben Teague on 6 May 2010

Much has been written and said about the oil spill currently transfixing all of us who live on or near the Gulf of Mexico, and much remains to be learned about what caused this catastrophe and what could have been done to prevent it. I’ve been thinking today about how this relates to the work we do.

First, it’s clear that we are all part of the long-term solution. Our dependence on carbon-based fuels for our lifestyle has forced us to drill closer to shore, mine deeper underground, and go to great lengths to access more oil, coal, and natural gas. If we needed less of these substances to get by, we could live with a safer (and perhaps more costly) supply. I’ve resolved this week to take a look at my lifestyle and find ways to reduce my personal carbon footprint. I’m going to walk more, eat farther up the food chain, and be more attentive to my consumption patterns. Millions of Americans could make similar thoughtful adjustments and have an instant effect on the amount of carbon-based fuel the world consumes.

We also need to demand more of our political leadership. Complaining about gas prices is simply not productive activity anymore. They will go up and down and there is very little our politicians can do about it. What they can do is think about a future planet that has very few fossil fuels left under its surface, and the people who will inhabit that planet. In the process of extracting these fuels, are we going to leave a dump for the next generation? We don’t need to, and yet by removing the tops of mountains to get at the coal underneath (just one example), that’s exactly what we’re doing. If the Gulf Coast loses a substantial chunk of its fisheries, or if the oil chokes our swamp grasses and leaves us more exposed to hurricanes, future generations will bear the cost of having fewer resources for food and protection from storms. We need to explicitly ask our politicians to think unselfishly, and we can’t take no for an answer.

At the level of our company, we remain committed to helping people live and work in spaces that have a reduced ecological footprint through reduced energy usage, access to transit and walkable spaces, and as much nearby greenery as possible. We are actively pursuing projects that will create walkable and public transit-oriented spaces, which are absolutely necessary for massive reductions in per person carbon footprint. We are also supportive, through our work with New Orleans’ Green Collaborative, of the broad number of groups working directly on responding to the crisis on our coast.

Failing to try is a crime against the future.

Categories: Environment

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