What Causes Oil Spills?

Oil, a natural resource, becomes unnatural when it leaves the depths of the Earth and into the living surface for industrial purpose. The most obvious and devastating depiction of this is an oil spill in the ocean, however large commercial pipelines can break anywhere, destructing everything in its path. Why do such accidents occur and what causes oil spills?

Unfortunately, it seems like oil spills are a common bi-product of our cheap oil culture.

There are three unfortunately common oil spills to be aware. First the large tanker or pipeline accidents that release a massive amount of oil into a, usually ecologically valuable and pristine habitat. These incidents usually cause a negative public reaction and are often the catalyst for stricter safety policy.

Oil spills most commonly occur when the oil is extracted or being stored. Notably off shore drilling is accompanied by spills or “seepages” that are par for the course. Natural disasters, like hurricanes lead to oil spills when the containers are compromised by “unforeseeable” events.

Then there are the teeniest of spills, occurring from our own cars, the motor oil that we throw away , at gas stations and other machinery. The small amount of oil seeps back into the grown, and eventually into the ocean. Although small, the problem here is the accumulative effect of an oil based society making spills daily.

Oil, at this time, powers globalization. We live in an era of cheap oil, that continues to subsidize the cost of manufacturing and transportation. All our goods and services are powered by a low cost of oil. Without it, the world would not be the same. There is no society left on earth that is not directly or indirectly affected by this yearly billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, despite all the money and resources available there is no protection against an oil spill as soon as it is pumped out of the ground. The BP oil leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is one example of what can go so wrong, and how truly unprepared and incapable even the experts are at quickly fixing a deadly problem.

The bottom line is that oil spills are caused by our massive dependency on it and our unwillingness to diversify or reduce the need for cheap energy. As long as we are so singularly dependent on oil, the chances are increased that deadly spills will continue to occur. -BEN TERRINGTON

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