In the second major tar sands oil spill in days, Lake Conway, Arkansas is finding out that bitumen oil sinks and is, therefore, virtually impossible to clean up. Exxon vacuumed in excess of 12,000 barrels of oil and water after evacuating at least one neighborhood near Mayflower, AK from the Good Friday spill, but the sunken bitumen will likely pollute waterways forever.

The oil sands dumped into 2010’s Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan illustrated convincingly that bitumen is virtually impossible to clean. Dredging is almost as bad on the environment as the oil itself and so impractical that much of Kalamazoo spill ended up being covered with dirt, rather than removed.

With recent spills in Utah and Minnesota, the only concerns Fox, ABC, and other media have, however, is what effect the rupture of the 60-year-old, 20-inch Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas might have on short and long-term gasoline prices. There’s no mention, for example, that tar sands oil – even when it gets to the refiner without incident – still produces from 40 to 70 percent more greenhouse emissions than conventional oil. There’s no mention that if Americans didn’t drive 2.9 trillion miles annually, using almost 70 percent of America’s 19 million barrel-a-day consumption, we might be able to wash our hands of Middle Eastern political convulsions and say no thanks to strip mining the forests in Alberta for tar sands oil or for sending drilling rigs above the Arctic Circle.

When do we begin thinking beyond our self-involved desires? Have we forgotten how to think long-term?

Twain said, “Man is the only animal that blushes. And the only one that needs to.”

But this is no laughing matter. Can we begin thinking beyond our immediate desires?