Article Summary #2 (March 13th)
by Stefan on March 13, 2018 - 11:56pm
The article titled “Environmental Consequences of Oil Spills”, written by Larry West for ThoughtCo, outlines, as its title states, the consequences of oil spills originating from sources such as pipelines, on the environment. West explains that an oil spill on land infiltrates the soil and may render it unable to sustain the lives of local plants as well as it used to. This can affect the entire ecosystem if other creatures are dependent on the existence or abundance of these plants. West also points out that a similar pattern occurs when an oil spill contaminates water, as it can reduce the population of species near the contamination site, thereby reducing the population of its predators. The author gives specific examples of oil spills, such as the a 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico which was detrimental to the lives of many bird and marine species or the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, responsible for the deaths of seals and sea otters, for example. A major finding cited by the author to further elaborate on the extensive damage that the Exxon Valdez spill caused was a study from 2007 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He concluded the article by explaining that the degree of damage that an oil spill can create depends on many geographical factors, but also on the oil itself and the amount of it that is spilled.
Perhaps one of the most difficult roadblocks to overcome in regards to oil is how much it is tied to our economy. If we simply cannot transition any faster, a plan b in my opinion would be to focus on improving oil-transportation technology and at least limit the amount of damage sustained by various ecosystems.