Like many of you, I have been consumed by the BP oil rig that went down in the Gulf of Mexico a few weeks back. The thought of hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil spilling into the waters off the Gulf Coast every single day (it just passed the 4 million gallon mark) with no discernible end in sight, sickens me. It is simply impossible to comprehend, or perhaps even to calculate, what the long-term effects of this disaster will be.
As the Senate hearings begin on who did what and when, why, and for what reason, the finger pointing that has been ongoing is ramping up into full swing. Sure BP is at fault due to the fact that it was their rig (by the way, were you aware that the US Government exempted them from environmental review on this specific rig and that they have the worst environmental record of all the oil companies). Sure Haliburton may have built the concrete structures incorrectly and Deepwater Oceanic should have made the “failsafe” shut off valve a bit more failsafe. But the bottom line is, no matter who did their work poorly, or who shirked their responsibilities, at the end of the day, we are the ones who are responsible for the disaster at hand.
That’s right, we are the ones responsible.
BP, like any other oil company, is in the petroleum game for one reason and one reason only: money. And where does that money come from? It comes from us. Either directly by paying to pump it into our vehicles, or indirectly in the planes that we travel in, the plastics that we use to make our lives so much more convenient, and the goods we buy from overseas that are shipped to and fro so we can save some money on a new turnip twaddler. So in essence, if we as a society didn’t keep throwing our money at petroleum, BP and others wouldn’t be drilling for it.
Now I know that I’m going to get flamed for being overly simplistic but if I recall back to my days at the ACME Business School, it all comes down to supply and demand. I should point out that while I may live a lifestyle a little less oil dependent than some, I’m still part of the problem, so this isn’t me pointing the finger as much as me accepting my part of the blame.
So what do we do? Read on.