The Sacred Path

Journeys through the mist

Oil slick around Mississippi barrier islands

NASA satellite image of oil around Miss. barrier islandsI just checked over at the NASA Earth Observatory web site, and they have a new image up for today showing the massive amount of oil that is collecting around the Mississippi barrier islands. All the silver-ish swirls you see on the water is oil from the spill. I’ve downsized it from its original size. You can, if you want, visit this page at NASA to see or download the original full-sized image.

I’ll let the image speak for itself.


  1. No doubt this is a global tragedy. Many complain that we are consuming too much fossil fuel, but yet they are unaware of, or ignore their own glutinous life style and consumption. Many do a lot of feel good things like recycle and drive energy efficient cars—and that’s great, but what about all the other products we use that are produced by oil; plastics, batteries, shoes, carpeting, cups—the list is endless and doesn’t even address other consumption habits like going to the movies, out to dinner, vacation travel and much, much more. A friend emailed me and told me I should drive down to Florida and help with the cleanup. My response was, you should walk down and help with the cleanup.

    Many like to point the finger in blame, but to survive with the lifestyles you and I have, we have to use fossil fuels. Electric cars, solar panels, and wind turbines are not the answer. They don’t amount to squat and they don’t solve the problem. Research shows they cost too much and produce too little. If you don’t believe it, price out the cost of converting your home and all your consumption to, so called, clean energy. It may be an eye-opener.

    At this point we have to begin using more coal and nuclear sources. That or we sell our cars, cell phones, computers, and the plastic chairs we sit in. Look around you and notice all the consumption… (Yes the very paint on your walls). Then close the Starbucks, AMCs, night clubs, and put in place a ban on all outdoor and in door lighting and night time activities. I’m an average American consumer—and while I applaud those energy conscientious individuals—but, I’m not ready for dirt floors.

    I’m just sayin’

    Red Dog

    • Red Dog, you are right when you people say some complain but don’t want to do anything about it, but at some point they will either make the changes voluntarily or they will be forced to by circumstances.

      Windpower, wave power, solar and electric cars are not THE answer, they are just a step on the long decent from abundant, highly-concentrated energy sources such as coal, natural gas and crude oil. Our lifestyles are going to have to change, and not too far into the future I’m afraid. We are going to have to be much smarter about out energy use. That does not mean that our lives will become less fulfilling. I believe they will become far more fulfilling once all the distractions we have in our lives start grinding to a halt, or become so expensive we cannot afford them.

      Nuclear is not a solution, it is a problem. For one thing, at current consumption rates it is estimated that there are only 70 years ore supply left, and as the years go on, the grade of the ore becomes lower and lower, and it takes more and more energy to mine and process it. If we start building more nuclear plants, that 70 years shrinks with each one we build.

      You also have to look at EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested). There have been a number of studies done on nuclear power EROEI, but each of the studies has used different boundaries as to what to include and what not to include. The only way to get a true energy payback number is to include all energy required from conception to grave, including all the energy required to mine, transport and process all the raw materials, all the energy it takes to get all those workers back and forth to the jobsite, all the energy it takes to manufacture and deliver all the materials to the jobsite, all the energy it takes to run all the engineering and support staffs, all the energy used to repair, maintain support and run the plant and well as the energy it takes to decommission, decontaminate and dismantle it. Oh, and don’t forget all the energy required to store all that nuclear waste it produced for 100,000 years. The EROEI studies range from a 10:1 (fingers in the pro cookie jar) to negative paybacks (fingers in the con cookie jar), but some of those overly optimistic studies used a lifespan of 100 to 150 years and the actual lifespan is more like 60 maximum. Until an independent and truly comprehensive study by people that can put aside their biases one way or the other, we aren’t going to know for sure. The one study I saw a while back that appeared to be unbiased has EROEI payback at about 3:1. Not a good return in my opinion We would be much better off using that energy for other things as we slip down the slope. The problem is, no one really wants to know the answer. To paraphrase Al Gore, it’s an inconvenient truth.

      The only reason nuclear was even possible was because we had an abundant supply of cheap, highly concentrated energy—oil/coal/natural gas—to build them with.

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