What's a Geek to Do? An Invitation to Fix Me -- Well at Least Help Me Reduce My Carbon Footprint… A Call to Action

If this convinces you... , let Shell Oil know we don't want them in our arctic.

OK... So recently, Green Peace volunteers occupying a Shell Oil drilling rig made me curious about the test drilling Shell is planning for US arctic offshore waters this year. Greenpeace claims that the Shell effort has an incomplete emergency plan for what to do in the event of anything akin to the Exxon disaster in the Gulf. I did a little reading and sure enough, the Shell capping stack, a major requirement for their permit for drilling in the arctic, is what we refer to in my industry as vaporware. Vaporware is software that is advertised as if it’s a functioning product when it’s really only a twinkle in the designer’s eye.

See Capping Stack System for Shell Exploration & Production (E&P) (http://trendsetterengineering.com/index.php/services/undersea-capping-st...) at Trendsetter Engineering regarding the contract to develop the Shell capping stack. The capping stack is not built yet, but Trendsetter indicates in other contracts shown on the page that they can build these systems “really fast” . That’s always a good idea with failsafe systems, right? Wrong! Here is an article (http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2011/02/oil_industry_d...) about the capping stack technology that gives you a sense of the readiness of the solutions at the time of the Exxon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There were great plans then too. Sorry, I just don’t like the sound of the risk. And you can read other articles about Shell’s plans for potential spill clean-up including oil sniffing dogs to find oil under ice. They didn’t make me feel any better.

Many articles are readily found regarding the pros and cons of the effort to search for artic offshore drilling sites. What is the rush to do test drilling this year? I can’t figure it out other than money. An advocate would lead you to believe the arctic oil is what’s going to make us independent of middle-east oil. Folks, the entire Alaskan offshore oil reserve is only estimated to be about 3.5 years supply for the US… (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/17/shell-arctic-spill-response-pla... 26.6 billion barrels reserves) / http://oil.com/articles/US-oil-consumption-reserves-exponential-growth/ (average US usage 21 million barrels/day) Really?… We need to rush in and risk a whole eco system for 3.5 years of independence? It doesn’t really set my heart a pitter-pattering with enthusiasm for the effort.

I can imagine an amazing freedom and relief if we could remove our dependence on foreign oil. But I don’t want to feel that for only 3.5 years. I want to make it a forever thing. Imagine if we actually could become independent of fossil fuels. What does that do for you?… That excites me a lot more than 3.5 years of independence. Americans have united together to take on bigger tasks. Why can’t we start envisioning a future using renewable energy? Why not start taking steps to make that happen? Instead of buying time so we can leave this problem to our children and our children’s children, let’s bite the bullet and invest in alternative and cleaner energy sources. Heck let’s at least start consciously using less fossil fuel energy every day. That’s what we can do. We can send big oil a message, by really setting our sites on using less of it.

Americans know how to move industry in the right direction. My children need to get really mad at their parents and themselves. That’s what got my generation on the clean industry wagon. We can swim in and drink a lot of water today because there were enough people in my generation who said enough is enough… I recently found myself sitting across a B&B breakfast table from a gentleman channeling my father who has been gone from this life for over 25 years. You think I jest? Seriously!

This gentleman, a supplier of conveyers to the gas industry as well as others, was advocating for keeping our government from doing too much regulating in regards to the use of fracking to extract deep reserves of natural gas. He felt it was slowing down the development of a valuable resource. When I suggested we might take our time to really understand the waste and ecological ramifications and ensure we can regulate and monitor so we don’t poison ourselves and others, he said, “We need to stop putting so many regulatory barriers up for industry. Industry will police itself. It’s not to their (any industry’s) advantage to make a mess.” I was speechless, which many can tell you is a rare occurrence. I heard these exact same words from my father’s mouth in July of 1976 regarding the pressure being put on Great Lakes industries that were dumping untreated waste in Lake Michigan. My father made his living selling pipe and pipefittings to the paper manufacturers around the Great Lakes. The paper industry was not policing themselves in 1976 and the gas and oil industry will not police itself in 2012. People who make their living from fossil fuel technology will not police themselves. We need to guide them with our regulation and our consumption.

They say our parents haunt us in many ways… I frequently hear my father groaning when I bend over to put on my shoes in the morning. I loved my father and he left me with many good philosophies, but “Industry will police itself.” is not one of them. I think this haunting by my father’s memory is saying to me… C’mon Anne make some noise about this! This isn’t right! So that’s what I am doing. I’m going to start where I know I can make a difference. I am going to change me. I am going to make some noise and I am going to systematically change my consumption. I hope you will take some time to educate yourself if you need to and take 30 minutes to look at the stories about this arctic drilling and consider helping to make some noise and change my consumption.

Here is what I am going to do this year. Along with our usual consumer directed ongoing remote support services at MyGeekShopper.com, I will be bringing you a series of blogs and articles about how anyone (I’m anyone, right?) can use technology to reduce ones carbon footprint and find ways to use less non-renewable fuels. I will do this in my usual way, by walking the walk and telling you about my adventures -- the good, the bad and usually humorous. If you would like to contribute questions or ideas to my efforts, I welcome your input. Let’s work together and see if we can start taking action by fixing me. Something tells me there are more than a few of you who can embrace this objective;-) At least, come have some fun learning and getting some ideas – if not for me, then let’s say for other people you want to change:-DDD.

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