Eleven people have already lost their lives, and the toll of death and destruction will no doubt mount for months or years to come. The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is proving to be the ecological and economic disaster we feared it would be. I’m not a praying man, but I fervently hope that the desperate efforts to contain the damage already caused by this catastrophe are successful. And when and if that’s accomplished, we need to talk.

If there was ever evidence that expanding offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (or anywhere else, for that matter) is a mistake, this is it. If there was ever an argument that we need to seek alternatives to fossil fuels to meet our energy needs, here it is, at your feet, on the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle.

These past two weeks have proved a turning point for me. I have always been opposed to offshore drilling, but I’m a lazy realist. I figured there was no way we were going to reduce our use of fossil fuels, so we might as well resign ourselves to the fact that expanded drilling in our oceans and wildlife areas is going to happen. Now I realize thinking like that isn’t enough. We have to enact laws that will steer us in the direction of alternative energy sources, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and enact protections that will put a stop to offshore drilling now. What happened in the Gulf did not have to happen, and it should never be given a chance to happen in the future.

If anything good has come out of this, aside from an awareness that we’ve made a grave mistake with the earth, it’s that the vocal proponents of drilling have been temporarily silent, not daring to defend their indefensible positions. I haven’t heard much chanting of  “Drill, baby, drill!” lately, have you? It’s been a nice, quiet couple of weeks.

Off the soapbox, I’ll have some exciting news from Nineball Island very soon.