Molly Canfield: I came home from work one night last week, ate dinner, put on my pajamas, and sat down on my couch to watch TV. None of my roommates were home so I had control of the remote. As I was flipping through channels, I stopped on one of the various national news stations. The news anchors were reporting on the recent oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. I sat there, on my couch, by myself, and almost started to cry.

I had heard about the oil leak earlier that day, but hadn”t paid too much attention to it. Seeing the merging to the surface of the gulf, and listening to the director of the Coast Guard talk about the failed attempts to cap the leaking rig, just made me sad. I was, and still am, sad for the people of Louisiana, who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and who now have to recover from this catastrophe. And I am sad for the faultless marine animals that will directly suffer, helplessly, because of the oil. Sea turtles, bird species and much other endangered marine life will be hugely affected by . To date, the amount of oil leaking is around 60,000 barrels a day. 60,000 barrels. The in 1989 “only” leaked 250,000 barrels total. The BP rig has been leaking for over a week now; who knows what the total amount will be at this rate.

I agree whole heartedly with the need to break our dependence on foreign oil, and I understand that offshore drilling can help us meet that need. In opening offshore drilling sites, President Obama was trying to extend a bipartisan hand to curb our dependence on foreign oil. The problem with the offshore drilling approach, however, is apparent. Is it really worth it to continue drilling for oil deep in our oceans when we know the risks that entails? Is the oil we gain worth the wildlife we may lose? Is it worth the economic depressions we may inflict, as will likely occur in Louisiana?

If anything good can come from this oil tragedy, let it be that we focus our energy efforts elsewhere. It is in everyone”s interest that we discover a strong source of renewable energy, and break our dependence on finite sources such as oil. It is not a question of if we will one day run out of oil, but a question of when. So why not go ahead and invest heavily in different renewable energy practices? Sure, it will take oil to produce the equipment to harvest alternative energy, like wind power mills (wind turbines) and solar panels, but once we have the ability to harvest that energy we can start using it to power the production. And it”s not cheap to invest in alternative energy. But think about how much BP and the government will have to pay in cleanup costs for this oil spill.

It is my hope that we, as a nation, can see the affects of those 200,000 barrels of oil a day leaking into the Gulf, and decide that we will not let that happen again. I hope that Congress and President Obama will work to ensure we progress more quickly and seriously with our efforts to find strong alternative energy sources. I”m no energy expert, but investing all we can into renewable energy just seems like common sense to me. It”s time to break our dependence — not just on foreign oil, but on oil altogether.

Oil? Never Again, Please