by Linsley Oaks, LuxEco Editorial Assistant
EcoEmotions are very high right now. There are a lot of fingers pointing across our headlines about the oil spill. A lot of large and angry fingers attached to very powerful hands. BP is being accused of using sub-par contractors and drilling methods. People are boycotting BP gasoline. The government’s head is also on the chopping block over legislative regulations. I have seen a lot of ‘blame Obama for the BP Spill’ links peppered throughout the internet. There is even awebsite now where you can spill virtual oil on any website to vent your eco-outrage.
Oil spills are the most dramatic and devastating occurrences that our environment faces. They are a direct result of certain actions, and someone definitely needs to take the blame. We need accountability in the highest degree in order to ensure that more oil is not spilled. It is unacceptable that disturbing images of sea and marine life drenched in oil and suffering intermittently populate our news feeds. Something needs to be done.
As awkward as it is to echo my mother, my personal reaction is this: when you point a finger, there are three more pointing back at you. It is this point that strikes me in the media feeding frenzy that ensued in the information waters once the first drops of oil spilled. Boycotting and trying to destroy BP, blaming politicians, and spilling virtual oil on websites does not come close to identifying the real culprits of this oil spill. It is with no small amount of shame that I can say with certainty that I know who those accountable are: it is you and me. Yes, you and me personally. We are the REAL reason that oil spills and all their resulting horror occur. I hope that people are coming to realize this amidst all the blame game being conducted in the public sphere.
It is our demand for the goods and services we use in modern life that is the pre-cursor for the very harvesting of oil. This is much, much bigger than where you fill up your gas tank. Oil and its by-products are used in everything the consumer (you, and me) touches: from the clothes on our backs to the foods in our bellies to the computer you are reading this on, there is no escape from our dependency on oil. It is our dependency on oil that in turn creates a demand which is fulfilled by companies like BP. BP is not really the problem here (I am far from saying they did nothing wrong, of course) and since they are not the problem, attacking them is not a solution. We, the consumers, are the problem and it is high time that we take a good long look in the mirror and realize that every single one of us is to blame. I would love to see a portion of all the energy and resources spent blaming and condemning be spent brainstorming and constructing ways to reduce, restructure, and maybe one day even eliminate our addiction to oil. And that is my two cents on the gallon.