News, Opinion

Gulf Oil Spill: Who’s To Blame? Look In The Mirror

Travis Walter Donovan :: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 4:45 pm

Massive amounts of oil continue to flood into the Gulf of Mexico at an incalculably disastrous rate following the explosion that destroyed BP’s offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, on April 20. The world looks on as corporations and governments alike stumble over themselves in a clumsy effort to put a band-aid on what quickly became the United States’ most catastrophic environmental disaster, now growing to veritable unprecedented eco-pocalypse status.

As images of crude-coated wildlife and blackened shorelines wash through the media, citizens’ sentiments are growing beyond mere frustration and anger. The nation is understandably pissed. Inevitably, as with any similar situation, to satisfy the crowd’s conscience and fulfill that nagging sense of justice, someone must be burned at the stake. Now, it’s just a matter of finding whom to blame!

BP CEO Tony Hayward made his thoughts on responsibility quite clear when he brazenly said, “This was not our accident.” In a further show of immature histrionics, executives from BP, TransOcean, and Haliburton (all companies at work on Deepwater Horizon) testified before Congress by pointing fingers at each other, as if they were trying to excuse some schoolyard prank. President Obama deemed their drama as a “ridiculous spectacle“, though of course not even he is spared from accusation. Obama’s oil spill response has been heavily criticized as a lethargic and under-responsive reaction. And let’s not forget the countless energy villain politicians vying in favor of big oil, or even the heavily corrupt federal institutions, like the Mineral Management Service, who are tasked with regulating an industry of which they are deep in the pockets. Of course, eight years spent under the Bush and Cheney regime only opened the floodgates for dirty oil companies and their sleazy cohorts’ misconduct. Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin would instead have you believe it’s those wacky environmentalists’ fault.

Well now, that sounds like enough for a proper witch-hunt! Get the gallows and crucifixes ready; we’ve got a whole day of tar and feathering ahead of us. They’ll look worse off than those poor birds drowning in oil by the time we’re done with them (cue maniacal laughter).

But wait — something seems amiss here. How is it that we, as a country, have let the walls crumble so much between our government and our corporations that now we’re left with nothing between the two but a revolving door of heinously rich criminals? Oh, that’s right — because we constantly consume their crap products, building their homes brick by gold brick in exchange for unsustainable garbage, irremediable pollution, and global warfare.

America’s daily oil use tops 800 million gallons, more than twice the amount of any other country, only 25 percent of which is domestically produced. That’s more than 4 times the amount of the current size of the Gulf oil spill. Not only are we a car-centric society, slacking behind the rest of the developed world in more energy-efficient public transportation for the sake of our egotistic independence, but we surround ourselves in petroleum-derived products. No doubt about it, oil is in everything.

93 percent of our plastics are derived from natural oil or gas. Petrochemicals have become such an integral part of American consumerism, found in everything from deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, and shampoos to the coating on vitamins and painkillers, the thickening agent in fast food milkshakes, and that fake shiny coloring that makes those grocery store apples look so brilliantly bright and vivid. Doesn’t anyone else find it ironically excessive that we have a product — trash bags — which we essentially use to wrap our mostly oil-originated garbage in more oil before tossing out? It’s no wonder that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found 180 chemicals derived from natural gas or oil in the human body — at this point, oil is quite literally in our blood.

So next time you are filling up at the pump or buying those single-use plastic-packaged products, think about who is really responsible for the Gulf oil spill. If we can muster up $4 million in donations in the aftermath of this environmental catastrophe, surely we can take more permanent and sustainable steps to kick our oil addiction. As Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig so astutely tweeted, “off-shore drilling seems like the ’shooting-up between ur toes’ phase of oil addiction,” and right now we are a nation full of strung-out junkies.

2 Responses to “Gulf Oil Spill: Who’s To Blame? Look In The Mirror”
  1. [...] You might also like: GULF OIL SPILL: WHO’S TO BLAME? LOOK IN THE MIRROR [...]

    Posted by: Death and Taxes » Watch Texas Congressman Apologize to BP! June 17th, 2010 at 3:07 pm
  2. You are so right.

    Posted by: Patricia Moran June 17th, 2010 at 7:22 pm