Monthly Archives: June 2010
|06/29/2010||Posted by Jane under bits and pieces|
There has been alot of finger-pointing in recent weeks over who’s at fault for the oil leak, who should clean it up, and who isn’t doing their job well-enough…so now they’re at-fault, too. Real-time pictures show oil gushing from the ocean floor in the corner of our television screens. As we watch, helplessly, we look for someone to blame…and then, we point fingers.
I’m reminded of the saying “when you point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” How quickly we are to assign responsibility for tragedies to those who carry out the violent acts…raping the ocean floor, being careless with safety controls, not following protocol. It’s easy, and obvious that they are responsible for how they conduct their business.
People vent about the oil leak, and about how nothing is being done about it…that BP is incompetent. While I agree that there ‘should be’ a plan in place for emergencies like this…we’ve never faced a leak anything like this….the experts in charge right now aren’t exactly old pros at fixing something of this magnitude. So when I hear folks complain about the mean, greedy old oil companies, I always want to ask, “What part do you play in this whole fiasco?” I haven’t been brave-enough to say this in-person so, far…but that’s the beauty of writing, right?
So, “What part do you play in this whole fiasco?” In our efforts to live the American dream, we dutifully drive our children to and from practice, sometimes multiple times a day. We make our Saturday morning run to the home improvement shop and, “Oh, forgot the fertilizer”… gotta’ make another trip before they close.
We hop flights to Disney and Vegas, after-all, everyone must get a picture with Mickey Mouse, and get to the Grand Canyon at some point, right? This is evidence that we are successful, and that we’re doing what people do…what we’re ‘supposed’ to do. Evidence that we can afford the trips, and the Happy Meals, and when we get back to work on Monday morning, we’ll be able to tell people what a busy family we are.
Oil companies are not community service organizations. They are in business to make money. They make money by quenching our thirst for their product.
We are a society of supply and demand, and we certainly know how to create demand. As a nation, we lament the effects on our shorelines. Would our hearts be just as heavy, honestly, if the leak were off the shores of a foreign land…not quite so personal?
So-far, this is sounding pretty judgmental on my part, I think. I’ll be the first to say that I LOVE to travel. If I had to choose things to live without, travel would be at the bottom, the very bottom of my list. I also drive every day…a 30 minute commute in traffic (this, I do not love). While I am working on minimizing, I have alot of room for improvement in the things that I consume…the things that are fabricated in a factory somewhere, and shipped to my store. I am a consumer…part of this nation of demand.
Those of you who know me personally, or though my writing, know that you’ll probably never catch me in a political debate. I’ll leave the facts, figures, and politics to the amazing people at Grist.org. I’m certainly not asking for folks to drop the conversations…they’re necessary. This oil leak is wreaking havoc on the environment. The numbers of gallons, and the numbers of dollars are mind-boggling…beyond my comprehension.
It’s necessary for us to talk about things that so tear at our soul, but perhaps the next time I hear someone pointing a verbal finger at the big guys, I’ll rephrase my question into a statement. “Maybe we should think about how our lifestyle plays a part in this fiasco.” Then, maybe, they’ll notice the three fingers pointing back at them.
p.s. My hat is off to those of you who have made huge commitments to reducing your little barefoot prints on this earth. Riding bikes, reducing personal consumption, and being more with less. For the rest of us who need a little direction in this area….read more at Rowdykittens, where Tammy Strobel shares her awesome experience, strength, and hope for a better world.
Photo Credit: USFW/Southeast