Innovate, Don’t Frack

I’ve always believe in clean energy, and I don’t really like the idea of expanding oil drilling. It’s not just that fossil fuels will be used up one day, though that is a problem. As an intern with CalPirg’s UCSB Chapter, I read about the two major oil spills that happened in Santa Barbara in 1969 and 2015. In each case hundreds of animals died (that’s only the ones that could be found, not the ones that sank into the ocean). Commercial fishing and tourism were suspended, and it took long time to clean up the mess. I honestly don’t want this to happen again.

A bigger more contemporary concern is that among the over 750 oil wells to be drilled, some concern the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin, which provides fresh water to the whole area. If an oil drill spill happens, the result will certainly be disastrous. Despite the risk of oil spill, the fact that oil drilling needs a huge amount of fresh water makes it unsuitable for Central California, which suffers from drought.

Trump proposed to make America energy independent by opening more oil drilling lands. It is not wrong to make America energy independent, but expanding oil drilling is definitely not the way. Trump just doesn’t get what the spirit of America is all about.

A few days ago I watched a TED talk by Donald Sadoway, a professor at MIT. He said, “If we are going to get this country out of its current energy situation, we can’t just conserve our way out; we can’t just drill our way out; we can’t bomb our way out. We are going to do it the old-fashioned American way: we’re going to invent our way out, working together.” He has a point. American spirit is all about solving problems with something new and creative instead of repeating the old ways.

What we need is to find out new sources of energy, energy sources that don’t risk ruining the environment and can be used long-term. The new bill to power California with renewable energy is reassuring. Different student groups, including CalPirg, are pushing UCSB to an even greater commitment of renewable energy. This is what we actually want to see.

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