Who’s Really to Blame for the BP Oil Spill? We Are.

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.

Most of us can’t up and cut petroleum out of our lives today in one fell swoop, but we can recognize that we are a part of all of this and make a decision to decrease our consumption so that next time this happens (and there will be a next time) we can say “Well, at least they weren’t out there drilling for me.”

Stop driving your car one day a week. If you already do that, go for two. Ride your bike. Take the pledge that you will never accept another plastic bag. Walk. Take one less plane trip a year, or better yet, don’t take any at all. Never drink from another plastic water bottle. Buy organic or still better, grow your own, and make a pledge to only buy local and in season. These may all seem like piddly little things, but if we all started doing them, it’d make a difference.

Once you’ve done all of that, pick up a pen and paper (remember those?) and write a letter. Not to BP, mind you, they already know that they’re in trouble and if you ask me, probably don’t care anyway. Instead, write a letter to the other oil companies and put them on notice. Tell them how angry you are. Tell them if they so much as think of cutting corners on safety and you hear about it, you will boycott them until the end of time. Sound the alarm and scare them into better practices and ask them if they want to end up like BP paying out billions of dollars and taking a huge PR hit at the same time.

Once you’re done with that one, keep on going and pen a note to your reps and any other reps you can think of and tell them if they want to get re-elected, they better stop talking about fossil fuels and start talking about renewable energy. Point out the coal mining disaster of last month, the oil rig disaster we are currently dealing with, and the ones that are sure to come in the weeks and months ahead, and then ask them how many people have been killed by windmills and solar panels. Put them on notice and let them know you are paying attention, because frankly, an energy future that looks like the one we have presently, is no future at all.

Finally if you really want to do something concrete, head down to the Gulf and get your hands dirty. Personally speaking, I think everyone who’s been screaming “Drill Baby Drill” should be at the head of the line, but that’s just me.

OK, that’s my rant. I’m off to write a few letters and then go for a nice ride on my bike.

Related Links:

Take action, sign a petition: Prevent Another Oil Spill: Rethink Offshore Drilling
12 Animals Threatened by the Oil Spill
Oil Spill: Donating Human and Pet Hair to Help


LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you.

Robin T.
R T6 years ago

Dave Chameides I thank you for your article, how right you are and how refreshing to have an article that takes a look at the solution without pointing fingers and heaping all the blame on one person or company, that is so easy and unproductive. As you rightly say all companies are there to make money a fact we often conveniently choose to forget.
We all can and should make a difference. Every time we say no to a plastic bag, we have made a difference. Every time we decide not to drive to the corner shop, we have made a difference. Just think if every Care2 member said 'NO' to plastic bags one day a week that would be at least 15,040,564 less bags in circulation. What a difference that would make.

Make a difference, plant a tree.

Laurita Walters
Laurita Walters6 years ago

We are all responsible, for supporting the companies that do the drilling and using the products produced.

We do not need the oil. We need the oceans. Disallow any further drilling for oil in the oceans. Use the money to promote and produce environmentally friendly energy. It will only happen if we do not support the drilling!

Solutions will occur as we stop buying and using petroleum products.

Lynn C.
Lynn C7 years ago

Thank you Colleen for putting into words what's been in my heart from the beginning...

John Faust
John Faust7 years ago

Thanks Colleen. A wonderful comment. May we take it to heart.

Colleen Maranda
Colleen B7 years ago

Religion taught people that "human dominion" means superiority rather than responsibility to care... that celebrating and acknowledging this planet's amazing dimensions was 'pagan' and forbidden.

By giving our personal responsibility away to religious and all other controlling "experts" we've assisted monstrous crimes against natural law whilst believing ourselves immune from natural consequence. Parading our victim mentality when things get uncomfortable or scary avoids the truth that oil companies and other groups are OUR agents for terror.

Maybe also, protests about marine animals, birds and ecosystems are inherently weak when they come from people who happily celebrate by consuming other fellow creatures suffering the misery of factory "farms" including sow stalls. By labelling those lives as "meat", people can deny the fact that they feel pain, terror and depression.

Enlightened spirits like Dr Masaru Emoto have demonstrated our personal power. Of course, it comes with personal responsibility. For example, we can sit quietly for several minutes and from our heart, say the following prayer with total sincerity --

“I send love and gratitude to the waters and all living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I Love You.”

Alberta G.

Such a good article. I hate plastic and I walk when I can. Plastic is the worst thing they could have ever invented. Thank you for such a good article.

Annie P.
Annie k7 years ago

I've realized because of the spill that I am a very irresponsible consumer and I could use my dollars in ways that support fair trade, the environment, local economy, etc..

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago

Thanks for sharing