Oil spills are not rare or isolated incidents; there have been 39 large tanker spills since 1960. The large spills make the headlines, but there was on average more than one oil tanker spill every two weeks throughout the 1990s. The only sure and lasting solution to disasters like the Prestige is a shift from oil to clean, renewable energies.
Bird affected by the crude oil spilled from the striken 'Prestige' oil tanker on the beach at Valcovo, Galacia, Spain.
Want to give hands on help?
December 5: Our office in Spain has been overwhelmed with offers of help in the cleanup effort. Thank you everyone who has assisted in beach cleanups and monitoring for slicks so far.
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We may be largely helpless to do much about the spilled oil, but we can push national governments and the International Maritime Organisation to prevent these unsafe tankers from sailing under flags of convenience.
Help kick the oil addiction by conserving energy.
- Buy energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
- Ride your bike more, take public transportation and use your car less.
- If you do drive, inflate car tires properly, use recommended motor oil and keep car well tuned.
- Set a timer for your computer's sleep mode at home and office and be sure to turn off computer at night.
- Insulate your hot water heater and pipes and use alternatives to air conditioning or use it sparingly.
- Ask yourself these questions before you buy something: Do I really need this? Will this product last? Do I know how this item was made and how it will be disposed?
- Buy local produce or grow some of your own food. It saves money, allows you to use environmentally friendly techniques, helps you avoid toxic pesticides and saves energy at the same time.
- Recycle everything you can. Talk to your local authorities about where to recycle all your waste. Whenever possible, buy used or recycled goods. Take your own bags saves energy at the same time.to shops and avoid excessive packaging.
While the shock at the horrible ecological catastrophe off Spain is fresh in our minds, we should focus on solutions to address this problem.