Archive
2013
March
2012
January
February
March
April
October
2011
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2010
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2009
August
September
October
November
December
Aug. 26, 2011

There’s oil in them thar tar sands.

by Neil Wagner

Click to enlarge images
Post on Twitter
Share on Facebook

.

Oil makes the world go ’round. You’ve probably heard that was money’s job, but there’s a strong case to be made for oil. We need fossil fuels to make our society function in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed, but that shouldn’t mean we can’t take steps — dramatic steps — toward a high-powered post-oil civilization. Who says we have to be married to oil forever? We’ve relied on human power, animal power, water, wind, fire, whale oil… and the time has come to move to major energy sources that won’t warm our planet — OR run out, for that matter. If we run out of sunlight, I don’t think any of us are going to worry about global warming.

Which brings us to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Tar sands in Canada contain bitumen (a form of petroleum that resembles tar), and some folks would like to build a pipeline from Canada to Texas, where the bitumen can be refined. A recent New York Times editorial spells out the problems with the pipeline project, and Grist has done a nice job of recapping the Times editorial.

Beyond that, we should consider a quote that has been discussed in this space before. Thomas Edison once said, “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy—sun, wind and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

I don’t think Tommy E. would be happy with the pipeline. We’d be like tenant farmers whose houses are on fire, but we go ahead and chop down our neighbor’s fence for our fuel anyway. We can choose power sources that don’t run out and don’t heat our planet, or we can stay with sources that will run out and will eventually make our planet unlivable.

350.org is looking for people to take action.

So is TarSandsAction.org

Your creative idea could be chosen to appear in the September 23rd edition of What on Earth? which highlights Moving Planet, the worldwide event being planned by Bill McKibben’s 350.org environmental organization. Entering the contest is easy:

  1. Think of a green mode of transportation (Walking? Electric car? HANG GLIDING?) — the wilder the better — we want your craziest green ideas!
  2. Post your idea on the “What on Earth?” Facebook page www.facebook.com/whatonearthcomics by September 3, 2011.

That’s it! The winner will first be announced through 350.org. The What on Earth? comic strip featuring your idea will be circulated around the world including right here. Good luck!

__________________________________________

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT ON EARTH?…

Interview: Katie Kline, Communications Officer at Ecological Society of America interviewed me via Skype for the ESA’s Ecotone blog. Read and hear it here.

Video: Bebbo and Kito were featured in one of Jim Parks’ terrific Today’s Green Minute episodes. See the video! Learn moreabout it.

About Neil Wagner

Neil Wagner's What on Earth? comic strip uses humor to discuss global warming.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

topics