Question 210 of 365: What does a three year old think about the oil spill in the gulf?

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Blowout Preventer (BOP) Cut Away
Image by eschipul via Flickr

Today in the car, my daughter wondered what the oil wells in the farmland of Colorado were all about. I said they were used to suck up the oil that was underneath the earth. My daughter paused, deep in thought, and then she said this (I’m paraphrasing, but all of the ideas are there):

My teacher told me that in Florida there was an accident. Deep underneath the water there was a big machine that started to leak and let oil out into the water. I think that they are getting oil out of those wells because we need some in Colorado and the leak is too big.

I was proud. My daughter knows about the events of the day. She knows enough (or could guess at least) to reveal the root problem of oil in our lifetimes: there isn’t (and won’t be) enough to go around. If you don’t get it in one place, you have to get it in another. I love that her mind works this way, and I wonder why so many others don’t.

If others saw this in such simple terms, I don’t think we would debate about our focus for the future. Any energy source that’s scarcity can be found out by a three year old, needs to be replaced by one that isn’t so easy to poke holes in. Right?

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