Wednesday, May 5, 2010

DeepWater Horizon

As you may have heard, an oil rig has exploded off the Southern Coast of the US, causing a spill almost certain to be the worst in human history, with a potentially devastating impact on the local environment and everything that lives in it (which would be everyone that is alive).

In the news, and in political emails, and among people's conversations, there is talk about what BP did wrong, how they might have prevented it, whether the government response was quick enough, how consumers should react....

But the truth; which almost no one wants to admit is:

This is OUR fault.
If you drive a car, ever, for any reason, you are personally responsible for the spill.

If you don't own a car, but sometimes you borrow one, or get a ride with a friend, or take the bus, or take a long-distance train, if you fly or travel by ship, that oil was being drilled for you.
If you are a hard-core oil abstainer, never travel long distances, do all short trips by bicycle, nearly everything you buy, food, clothes, books, paper, your bicycle, the computer you are reading this on right now, was both produced and transported with the help of oil.

We don't get to blame oil corporations, or government, or BP executives, and the capitalist economy. It is US. All of us.
Instead of writing angry letters or boycotting a particular company, how about taking this opportunity to use a little less oil yourself. However much that is, make at least a little change, and use a little less.

Buy something used which you would normally have bought new.
Ride public transit, a bicycle, or walk, when you don't have that far to go.
When you do drive, drive a little slower.
And stop accelerating toward red lights - it won't get you where you are going any faster anyway.


  1. It would also help if public transit was fully funded. Take part in your government (us) and see that this gets done.

  2. Exactly. That ties together this and another thing I am working on: in a democracy, government is our responsibility.

    At the same time, if more people simply rode public transit, it would be better funded. Everyone is waiting for it to be easy. Its not about cost, its about convenience and, even more, comfort. This was made apparent when the bay bridge closed and BART ridership (local light rail) rose 50%, while traffic over the San Mateo bridge rose 300%. BART to SF and the bridge toll are about the same. More people preferred to wait in a 4 hour traffic back up than have to stand close to strangers for 15 minutes on crowded trains and buses.