As each day goes by, I get more and more concerned about the damage being caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – the images of destruction that I see reported on the news are amongst the scariest things that I ever seen on the news.

Firstly, let’s not forget that 11 men lost their lives in the fire that led to this spill; whilst it is important to consider the economic impact on the USA and beyond, we have to remember that these men died just doing their jobs and the suffering of their families mustn’t be forgotten.

The Horizon off-shore drilling rig exploded on 20 April 2010 and over a month later, thousands of gallons of crude oil are pouring into the Gulf of Mexico with all attempts to stop the leak so far having failed.

This is the worst environmental disaster in American history, and possibly the worst’ in human history and leads to one question – when are we going to take seriously our need to eradicate our dependency on fossil fuels?

Satellite image of the BP Horizon oil spil in the Gulf of Mexico

As long as we continue to extract oil from increasingly difficult to reach places, we will sustain the risk of major environmental catastrophes like this.

President Obama was right to ban new drilling around the American coast, but this is must be just the first step in what must be a concerted effort by governments around the world to encourage companies to invest seriously in alternative forms of energy.

Our current reliance on oil leads to inequality and conflict all around the world as we fight for control of dwindling supplies of ‘black gold’. Even without the inevitable ecological disasters that ensue, the continued exploration for oil generates a human cost that we must now consider unacceptable…

As the oil slick threatens hundreds of miles of US coastline, so it should threaten the continuation of oil exploration near human settlements.

It is time for us to get serious about looking at other forms of energy.