Just before the start of this year’s international celebration of electric vehicles known as National Drive Electric Week a leak was discovered in a major gasoline pipeline in Alabama. This pipeline, that supplies gasoline to millions of people along the east coast of the USA, leaked over 330,000 gallons of gasoline into the environment. This is an aerial view of the lake in Alabama that was contaminated by the fuel spill.
This unfortunate and ironically timed disaster is yet another oily thorn in the side of the petroleum industry and it comes amid the recent and past news of multiple oil/gas pipeline leaks, explosions, oil train disasters and other mishaps all over the world, and let us not forget the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and all the petroleum related cover ups and lies by the likes ExxonMobil and Volkswagen. It is as if nature/God/the universe or whatever deity you pray to (or not) is telling all of us – “look you naked apes, you need to end all this madness and leave the fossil fuels in the ground where I put them in the first place! They are highly toxic and dangerous to all life forms!”
After the leak was discovered repair crews from the pipeline owner Colonial Pipeline began work on cleaning up the spill and repairing the leak in the pipe as seen in the above photo from this source. Notice how close to a body of water the pipeline is at this point. The gasoline leaked into this nearby pond and trace amounts have been found an a nearby pond as well. Luckily however, due to the location and timing of the leak it seems that a major environmental catastrophe was avoided – at least for now. We were very lucky this time but reality shows that it is only a matter of time before another pipeline breaks and causes irreparable harm to the environment and the creatures that call it home–including us. This spill could just as easily have been another Mayflower/Pegasus pipeline spill or much worse.
Unfortunately for everyone in my area the media grabbed the story and reported on it in the way they do so well…resulting in fears of an empty tank causing long lines at the gasoline stations where people wait for access to the pumps to squeeze out every last drop of the precious, toxic, and highly addictive elixir that gives them mobility and the illusion of freedom.
Throw in a natural disaster and it gets even more interesting…
Hurricane Katrina…remember the mess that caused?
Photo source MIT
Then more recently Hurricane Sandy.
Above photo from Universe Today
Above image from this 2012 article after Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern US causing gas shortages and similar stress that we are facing in the southeast today.
Inevitably the gas station owners were forced to raise their prices to pay for the increased emergency shipping to get fuel to the out of gas communities in a timely manner. Many companies then took advantage of the situation and price gouging ran rampant with prices being reported as high as $5 per gallon in some areas forcing the Governors of several states to freeze gas prices until things get back to “normal.”
Below are a few links to the media explosion resulting from this fuel leak
From my local news networks
From the other sources
On Saturday, 9/17/16 I witnessed the fossil fired madness first hand as I drove my Nissan Leaf EV from Brevard to Hendersonville.
12:15pm The first station I passed had long lines stretching out into the road. Unfortunately I was unable to get a photograph.
12:25pm. The second station I passed is pictured below. Cars were pouring in as I snapped the photo!
12:40pm. I passed another station and witnessed more insanely long lines. At this one I overheard a woman yelling like a child to another driver “That’s my spot, I was here first!”
I then saw this madness at an Ingles station in north Hendersonville.
1:30pm. By far the most disturbing scene was at this Ingles in Flat Rock.
I had to pull over at a safe distance and take some more photos of the media driven panic buying insanity.
There was a fuel truck on site attempting to keep up with the demand…
Like a person hooked on a prescription drug these people were desperate and will do almost anything for a fix of the deadly juice that powers their lives.
At one point scenes from Mad Max The Road Warrior started flashing through my head…
…but could that really happen? This guy may have part of the answer…
While many believe and trust the mass media reports that a pipeline did leak causing a measurable fuel shortage, there are others that believe this is simply a manufactured demand issue designed to drive up prices and oil company profits across the board.
It is the authors opinion that it may be a mix of both and wherever the truth lies the cold hard fact that remains is that people who choose to drive vehicles powered only by gasoline are terrified that their lives and business will be disrupted by this reduction in the flow of fuel. The other cold hard fact is that this incident has revealed is that our addiction to petroleum products is dangerous and very precariously balanced on a thin razors edge. The uninterrupted flow of gasoline and oil is all dependent on a very complex, decades old in some areas, infrastructure supported by a complex international petroleum supply chain overseen and controlled by out of date warmongering old fossil fuel pushers and their very well compensated puppets in national, state and local governments that are all hell bent on filling up their bank accounts with our hard earned money at any cost.
It is time we accept the cold hard fact that our nation is locked in a manufactured addiction to the dangerous, toxic drug that we call petroleum and all of its byproducts.
Yet, there exists another way to get around, a better way to get around.
The electric vehicle.
Sadly, many individuals and special interest groups refuse to accept it, many even deny its validity at every turn. A minority of severely addicted close minded petroleum pushers and users even call this not so new idea “un-American.” Some even go as far as mocking it by modifying their petroleum burning diesel-dino-juice guzzlers to illegally to emit clouds of noxious black smoke that they call “rolling coal” in the feeble attempt to make some sort of sad, anti-environmental statement in support of their addiction…
…it is as if they are proud of themselves and their ability to harm themselves, the people around them, and the planet that supports their very lives just to satisfy some childish belief that may or may not be based in one or all of the following observations personally made by the author of this article;
1. “This is a free country so I can do whatever the **** I want to and you can’t stop me.”
2. Everybody else is doing it and it is somehow accepted and “cool” among their circle of misguided friends.
3. I’m “sticking it to the greenies” and to “the man.” The “greenies” being anyone concerned for the future, the environment, and their children and “the man” being the US government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and any other governing agencies and NGO’s that work to protect us from ourselves.
4. “The “greenies” are wrong about everything. There is no problem with the atmosphere or with pollution or overpopulation etc…and in fact “climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.” (Yes, even though this statement is garishly incorrect on so many levels, there are many people that actually believe the nonsense spouted by Donald J. Trump.)
5. “I can do it because my beliefs say I can.”
First off – it is the authors opinion that people are free to believe whatever they choose to believe unless that belief system in some way harms or oppresses other people, animals or nature. Please, always remember this – just because you believe a thing does not make it true unless it is supported by measurable, observable, testable facts.
Secondly – in the authors opinion these ancient beliefs are simply metaphors presented to the reader as ways to help them make sense of life, the universe, and everything. Sadly, the meaning of these centuries old lessons are often totally missed by the reader who then often take them literally, totally out of context and out of time, and then severely misinterprets them and attempts to apply them to the situations of their modern lives that never even existed or could have even been imagined in the simple agrarian world that existed when the words were first written down. These ancient, metaphorical guidelines for life are often so distorted and misconstrued by their followers into the erroneous understanding that they are somehow special and superior to nature – that they have dominion over the earth and all of its inhabitants and resources so they can do whatever they wish to with it. Sadly, some of those on the lunatic fringe of these belief systems are even more disturbing when they announce that they believe that the world will be ending soon so their daily choices and actions do not matter anyway because it will all be destroyed by a vengeful supreme being and then, as they often say –
“you will all be sorry.”
That kind of apathetic attitude is so scary and so unbelievably selfish.
(Note: I have personally heard all of the above statements from real people and I am just appalled that there are people who still think an believe these things. I am so embarrassed and saddened at the actions of my own countrymen when they say and act like they do not care about anything but themselves. Where have we gone wrong…?)
Luckily, I believe that these deniers, haters and sadly misdirected individuals are a dying breed and that a new wave of reason is sweeping the globe.
Due to the connectivity provided by the internet coupled with the findings of science, better education opportunities, the many whistle-blowers exposing the truths that uncaring corporations such as Big Tobacco, ExxonMobil and Volkswagen have hidden from us for so long…there is great reason to have hope. There is hope from the passionate educators and scientists teaching the scientific truth to their classes in all grade levels. There are the bold producers, stars and authors of must watch/read independent documentaries and literature shining a bright light on these most important subjects such as these I highly recommend; Who Killed the Electric Car, Revenge of the Electric Car, The Cove, Sharkwater, Blackfish, Gasland, Gasland 2, The 11th Hour, An Inconvenient Truth, Racing Extinction, Before the Flood, Chasing Ice, Oil + Water, Oil and Water, Food Inc., Merchants of Doubt, Unstoppable, The Road Not Taken, The War on Science, The Madhouse Effect, Censoring Science and many more. There is even more hope coming from the majority of US Christians and high profile religious leaders and individuals such as the Dalai Lama, and many other religious leaders, including Muslim leaders, climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe and Pope Francis, through his recent Encyclical, Summit on Climate Change and other works in support of sustainability, coexistence and peace. There are forward thinking faith based groups such as Interfaith Power and Light, the Good Steward Campaign, that are urging people of all faiths to denounce the ancient and problematic biblical (King James and others) interpretation of dominion that the Christian God gave humanity the right to do whatever it wants to with and to the environment. Luckily today, these enlightened individuals and groups believe that (insert your deity here) calls on all people to be good stewards and protectors of the earth, not the careless ruling dictators that we have been for so long.
Earthrise 2015 source NASA
Yet even greater hope comes from the many churches, monasteries, and convents are installing and blessing solar arrays. Scout groups, schools and universities are divesting from all fossil fuel investments and going renewable in order to be better stewards of this earth and to educate the children on a better way to use our natural resources. Now is the time we all must wake up and listen to the science and accept the fact that science and religion can work together in protection and stewardship of our shared earth, its natural resources and all its creatures.
Indigenous peoples such as the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes are speaking out and protesting against the injustices being heaped upon their peoples and cultures by the actions of the past and sadly, the actions of today. Personally, I fully support the Sioux and other indigenous tribes and their supporters that are fighting fossil fuel projects all over the world in order to protect their lands, waters and future generations from harm due to our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.
As I write this thousands of people from all walks of life, members of other tribes, and even President Obama have assisted the Sioux in their fight against the pipeline they call the Black Snake but at the time of this writing the future of the pipeline and the Sioux is uncertain. The overwhelming sentiment among indigenous people everywhere, with many even signing treaties among themselves against oil and even meeting with the United Nations, is to stop the bulldozers and the pipelines and keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong!
Photo source and another good read on the Standing Rock Dakota Access situation.
Yet even more hope comes from youth from all over the planet. The younger generation is waking up to the truth that has been hidden from us all for so long. They are working to raise awareness of the environmental and human problems our addiction to fossil fuels are causing. Youth groups all around the planet and other youth led organizations such as the Earth Guardians and Our Children’s Trust are working hard and even bringing lawsuits against governments to create positive change working toward a clean, renewable powered future for us all.
The students and children shall lead the clean energy revolution.
I took the above photo recently after presenting a wildlife education show to a local school. After my presentation I introduced the students to my car. After I explained to them how it works, how much money I save, and how by driving electric you can help preserve nature, wildlife and our future environment, they were unanimously in favor of going EV. Yes, after meeting wonderful young adults such as these I have great hope for the future and I have no doubt that we will be able to end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. But it will take hard work and dedication from all of us to break the bonds of this addiction and to make it happen for us all, for the earth and for the future.
The power of the younger generation to insight change is supported by celebrities such as Lelani Munter, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, James Cameron, Julia Roberts, Joan Chen, Liam Neeson and Robert Redford to name a few.
Musicians are making a difference as well with artists such as Xavier Rudd, Nahko and Medicine for the People, The Earth Guardians and many more speaking out in their songs in the fight to end our reliance on the toxic grip that fossil fuels and certain big corporations have on us all.
Photo credit Jambase
Photo credit Nahko and Medicine for the People
You can be part of the clean energy revolution!
You can end, or at least lower, your reliance on fossil fuels.
You do not have to be wealthy or a celebrity to truly make a difference and lower your carbon footprint.
You too can drive electric.
As an example let’s take the case of my Nissan Leaf.
This is what I found this morning when I walked out of my door about to make the 13 mile journey to work.
My little 2012 Nissan Leaf EV was fully charged and ready to roll.
I unplugged the charger, got inside, turned the car on to find…
A wonderful 82 miles of all electric range! I pulled out of the driveway and headed through the unusually sparse traffic for 8:30 am. As I made my way to work I noticed a local gas station that was empty…quite a change from a few days before…so I pulled in to investigate. This is what I found.
I was so happy to have my little EV at that moment! Even with it’s limited range I can always fill it up with electrons anywhere there is an electrical outlet.
As I prepared to pull out of the station I suddenly became aware of three gas powered vehicles quickly converging on my location! I quickly realized that they must have seen my car in front of the pumps and assumed the station had product so they all dove in hoping to get some gas. I quickly and silently eased out of the station, between the converging cars, and on down the road. I had a small bit of anxiety at the thought of what some folks would do if they ran out of gas and could not do the things they need and want to do…and saw my EV silently driving down the road…now I know at least one of the reasons Max was mad.
Those few of us early adopters who made the switch to electric vehicles over the last few years look on as we pass by the conflagrations with amazement, wonder, and a bit of fear and much more than range anxiety…and then we pull up to our EV fueling stations with little to no competition…and grin that EV grin 🙂
We then calmly (and often freely or for a nominal fee) plug in and let the electrons flow into our sweet, silent, futuristic electric vehicles and we can’t help but grin that EV grin…again…because we know that driving electric is just a better way to drive.
I am fully aware that fueling these all electric vehicles requires some fossil fuels such as coal but with gas out of the picture we are on our way to a much cleaner, safer, healthier, quieter society. I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger said it well here when he came up with an excellent reason why we need to all go green.
There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.
I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.
I’m guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice — who would ever want to breathe those fumes?
Clean, reliable, solar, wind and EV technologies are available NOW off the shelf and off the lot. In fact, you can now even find a good used EV for the same price as a good used gas guzzler in fact, many collage students are snatching up used Leafs as their daily drivers because they just make so much sense.
On top of that the cost of solar has dropped exponentially in the last few years. Just stop and think for a moment…is your roof soaked in sunshine all or most of the day? Why not cover it in solar panels and put it to work for you?
Photo credit A.J. Rowell
Just think about it. If you had an electric vehicle right now how happy would you be that you did not have to go to the gas station? Maybe you could be like this guy who swapped his dirty, toxic VW “clean” diesel for an EV. Just stop and think for a moment how nice it would feel to be able to be truly free from the subscription to dependency and resulting high costs (to your bank account and the environment) and headaches of paying for gas and electricity. Imagine if your electric bill was only a few dollars a month? Most of us who are able to read these words honestly have no real excuse to not make the switch to cleaner technologies. If these options sound good to you, if they sound possible, then make it a goal to at least do some more research into the topic. Imagine.
Photo credit A.J. Rowell
This gasoline madness is just that, madness.
Six years ago my wife and I started making the switch from gas to electric with the purchase of a rechargeable string trimmer (weed eater). Then in 2013 we ditched our ageing Honda CRV for our 2012 Nissan Leaf 100% electric vehicle. Since then we have fallen in love with both of them because they save us loads of money, they are quiet and fun to use/drive and they are so much better for the earth and for our health. While they still require some fossil fuels to charge (until we can one day go solar), the gas and oil have been taken out of the equation and that is a huge thing in so many ways.
A few days ago the little string trimmer finally died so I replaced it with an upgraded 80 volt heavy duty model and an electric leaf blower (they have interchangeable batteries)! Now we are even closer to one day becoming an all electric family and kissing gas goodbye forever!
Going electric is not only for the well to do, I should know because I am anything but rich. Anyone can go electric and end your addiction to dirty, polluting, harmful, dangerous and outdated fossil fuels. All it takes is a little research, a test drive, a small amount of adaptation and compromise and soon, like me, you can be passing gas every day and loving every minute of it 🙂
On September 20 the gasoline tanker trucks started arriving in my area and select stations were able to dispense their product to the public.
On September 21st, as I again traveled that familiar road to work, I stopped at the local gasoline filling station…to squeegee my windshield 🙂
And I noticed that the pumps were all still out of service…all except for diesel.
On September 22nd drivers of gas powered vehicles breathed a sigh of relief when the pipeline began operations again after a bypass was put in place around the damaged pipe. Hopefully soon the fuel supply will be back to some form of “normal” and those that drive only gas powered vehicles* will be able to get around as in the past. I only hope that this little incident has left many of them questioning fossil fuels and thinking seriously about making the switch to EV’s.
How long will it be until the next pipeline ruptures? Will it be in your neighborhood? Only time will tell.
UPDATE: November 01, 2016 – the very same Colonial Pipeline that caused this fuel shortage just over a month ago exploded yesterday killing one person and severely burning several more.
It seems that we did not have to wait very long for the next major pipeline incident. More on this development to follow. Now do you now see why it is of utmost importance that we break our dangerous addiction to almighty oil and focus on renewable energy!
If the actions of the gasoline addicted public are any indications, I now know that one of the reasons Max was mad was because he was addicted to gasoline.
We have choices. Be the change.
*Yes, I have another vehicle and sadly is is powered by gasoline. I only use it for hauling and towing a trailer and drive it very sparingly. During this gas outage I left it parked and was so very glad I had an EV. One day, when a car company produces an EV truck, I will rid myself of the old dinosaur and go 100% EV.