Gulf Oil Disaster: It's Time to Bike and Walk

I can't tell you how sad I am to read the details unfolding from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. Not only did 11 workers lose their life in the explosion days ago, but now an oil spill bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined is killing plants and animals off the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coast.

Unlike the usual oil spill when a tanker runs aground and spills a specific amount of oil from its hull, this oil spill has no sign of stopping anytime soon. In our mad race to get oil from more and more difficult geological formations, we have created a problem that has no easy fix. Will the 5,000 barrels of crude oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico every day stop in three weeks or three months? BP isn't saying, maybe because they don't know...

If it continues flowing for two months, this oil spill will be worse than the Exxon Valdez disaster. A generation of fishermen lost their livelihoods around Valdez, Alaska, and now a similar story may be unfolding for the shrimpers of the Gulf.

And Obama was recently talking about expanding offshore oil drilling as part of a "clean energy platform." Dear President, please recognize (unlike your predecessor) that you made a mistake and help our country move forward.

We have to move away from consuming oil. It's not only expensive as gasoline prices get close to $3 per gallon, but it is contributing to far too many problems to continue business as usual. Gulf of Mexico oil producers haven't been paying royalties due to a loophole that your predecessors were too weak to fix. Will you finally take Representative Markey's advice and push hard to remove the loophole? These oil companies are making billions of dollars of profit every quarter while our Earth gets hotter and many of our cities remain veiled in smog. BP made over $6 billion in the first three months of this year, so they shouldn't have any trouble sharing some of their wealth after creating such a disaster for our country.

We need to go to the root of the problem and dramatically lower our consumption of oil. We need to put more serious resources into establishing a safe and accessible bicycling and walking network in communities across the country, and the East Coast Greenway is ready to help lead the charge.

Let's all be the change we want to see in the world, as Gandhi said, and bicycle and walk rather than drive. If you care about your own health, wildlife in our oceans, your account balance - please join the East Coast Greenway in its effort to build an alternative to our nation's oil addiction.

Together, we can change America and inspire climate and environmental progress worldwide.


Dennis Markatos-Soriano