20 million gallons !
I’m not sure I can grasp how much oil that is, but somewhere I read, it’s the equivalent of an area the size of Scotland, it terms of it lying on the top of the ocean… Boy that’s an oil disaster and a half and it’s only going to get worse now that the approach to bung golf balls and old tyres down the hole hasn’t worked !
I’ve just watched live video feeds from robotic vehicles cutting away at pipes and metalwork with what looked like a power drill with a very large diamond wheel cutter in it! I’m sure it’s more technical than that, but working at 5,000ft creates massive problems for BP. No human can swim down there and they rely on totally on deep sea technology to fix the leak.
Some of the statistics of dealing with this are mind numbing :
– BP has spent $750m over the last month dealing with the problem.
– There are over 20,000 people involved
– 100 miles of coastline is affected so far
– 30 acres of marshland are affected
– Total active response vessels: more than 1700
– Containment boom deployed: nearly 1.95 million feet
– Sorbent boom deployed: more than 1.82 million feet
– Oily water recovered: nearly 13.5 million gallons
– Total dispersant used: more than 950,000 gallons
Just one more good reason to start disconnecting from oil in many aspects of our lives. How many more disasters before we wake up to the issues that oil companies face. Tar sands, deep sea wells etc… If there was oil on the moon, there’d be a pipe connecting the two spheres by now ! Perhaps that’s why they went a prospecting way back in the 60’s. !
What ? Yip Lanthanum…. as I read about Peak Oil in the Transition handbook, it also strikes me that our modern society is also deeply addicted to rare earth metals too.
China accounts for about 97% of global rare-earth production. The electric motor in Toyota’s Prius hybrid, for example, requires 10 to 15 kilograms of lanthanum for the battery. The Prius’ battery also uses 1 kilogram of neodymium, the key component in the alloy for permanent magnets.
Our green future, if it has to rely on rare earths is going to get very complex, very pricy and very very dependant on China. Time to not only think how to detox us from oil but from all the other things we think are in endless supply. Fresh water, rare metals, etc.
Holyrood Food Conference.
Pete Ritchie from Whitmuir organics, gave a great speech promoting Nourish and the future of our food in scotland. I’ll cut-n-paste it below as it’s worth reading…
I’m one step closer to having the sun heat my tap water and not kerosene oil. Well in the warmer days anyway. One challenge was to see if I could avoid replacing all that copper and foam of a recently installed, perfectly good hot water cylinder. Not wanting to buy a massive new 3 coil cylinder and to have to scrap my existing tank, I’ve opted to try out a widget/gizmo thingy called a SolarVert. This is a heat exchanger that utilises the immersion socket in your hot water cylinder. It’s early days yet, as I’ve not got the solar thermal panel to connect into it, but so far, it’s a great solution. No problems fitting, and it’s ready to be plumbed into the panel, pump and expansion vessel tomorrow. I only hope it’s not made of rare earths given the above !….
That’s all for me for now. See Pete’s speech below…
Pete Ritchie – Nourish Scotland, pitch to Holyrood
I am here as a member of the steering group for Nourish, a new national organisation with a couple of hundred members around Scotland. We are a motley crew of small producers, community food groups, health projects, environmental groups and interested individuals. What brings us together is a shared vision for a Scotland where in every region we produce more of what we eat and we eat more of what we produce.
I want to make it clear that this is about a modern Scotland, not some sepia-tinged nostalgia for bygone days. Our picture of a modern society is one where we have a good relationship with food.
This means that as individuals, families and communities we give food more time and attention, we waste less and we are more conscious of the impact of our food choices. It means everyone being able to afford good food, and not a two tier society where some people have to rely on food charity.
But it also means that government supports this more sustainable food culture through its policies on land use and climate change and through its spending on health, income support, industry and agriculture.
We can of course go on eating like this for a few years yet. We can still afford to pay for a health service which picks up the tab for our unhealthy relationship for food. We don’t pay the cost of deforestation caused by our reliance on imported soya or for the long-term damage caused by irrigation in the countries we import food from – we will leave that tab with our children. We don’t see the realities of life in the pig, poultry, and dairy industries which are the consequence of cheap meat and milk. We don’t see where the waste goes and we don’t realise what it costs.
Nourish wants to see a very different food system. The Forestry Commission estimates that the area within 2 km of settlements of 500 people or more comprises one million hectares. It promotes woodlands in and around towns for social and environmental benefits. Nourish would like to see much of that 1 million acres used for food in and around towns, making a substantial contribution to basic food needs and reconnecting people with the land.
Nourish wants to see a proactive approach to sustainable local food at city-region level. The new structure planning framework sets out six regions for Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Perth/Dundee city regions, Highlands and Islands, Dumfries and Galloway) and Nourish wants to see food planning alongside planning for transport, energy and housing.
We heard earlier about the need for food businesses to scale up. The downside of scaling up is that it leads to specialisation, monoculture and long supply chains: moves power and profit towards the largest companies, encourages concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where pigs, chickens and dairy cows never see the light of day.
Given Scotland’s geography and population there will always be a need to produce and export some commodities, just as there are some places which suit Sitka spruce plantations rather than native woodland – but we should be wary of relying too much in our food strategy on sending products half way round the world which are mostly water and which can be easily manufactured elsewhere.
Nourish wants to see risk-sharing between consumers and producers, for example through food mutuals, scaling up the Community Supported Agriculture and creating efficient local storage and distribution systems so that food can be affordable and small-scale producers can be viable by working together. This will need investment in agronomy – seeds and techniques for low carbon agriculture in our climate.
Nourish came into existence because of the government’s initiative to create a new food policy for Scotland. We are part of a palpable movement for change in the way Scotland does food.