Those debates, however, obscure the more obvious point: We should be turning our attention -- and should have turned it long ago -- away from oil and toward greener options. Regardless of how they are transported, fossil fuels contribute to climate change when they're burned. And we can't afford to keep relying on them so heavily.
But there seems to be little change of course under way.
We're using newer, riskier technologies to extract the last of the Earth's hardest-to-get fossil fuels. That's true of old pipelines carrying new, more environmentally questionable types of crude from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It's true of natural gas "fracking," where liquid is injected into the ground to dislodge gas from cracks in the rock. The practice has raised concerns about possible links to earthquakes and potential groundwater contamination. And it's true of drilling in the deep ocean, which, as the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico showed, we obviously haven't figured out quite yet.
To create an era of sustainable, clean energy, we need to pay more attention to spills like the one in Arkansas and the one in the Gulf.
These events should stick in our noses and on our tongues.
It took a YouTube video to remind me of that. I hope it grabs your attention, too.
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