It’s your fault, and mine

Yes, BP is an awful, no-good, very bad mega-corporation that took too many shortcuts on the way to unleashing this apocalyptic nightmare – one with seemingly no good answers. And yes, Tony Hayward is a tone-deaf clown, that much is certain. But it’s not really their fault, it’s yours. It’s mine. It’s not Obama’s Katrina (or even Dick Cheney’s, though that’s closer to the truth), it’s ours. We demand – almost by birthright – that gas be as close to free at the pump as absolutely possible. The costs, from environmental damage, subsidies, wars, etc., have never been accounted for, particularly in the United States. Witness the national tantrum we threw when gas hit four dollars a gallon a few years back. We want it free, and without consequence.

So it’s your fault. We eat corn-fed beef like it’s what we were born to do – corn grown on mega-farms soaked in petroleum-intensive fertilizers.

It’s my fault. I drive 70 miles round trip to work every day. I’m going on a road trip this weekend that’ll put nearly 500 miles on my car. Every time I fill up the tank I’m telling the oil companies, “more of this, please.” So spare me the moral outrage against BP, please. They’re a cog in the machine you and I have created.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

7 thoughts

  1. Speak for yourself. I, like many people, didn’t ask for this. I was OK when gas hit $4 a gallon. In fact, I’m in favor of a huge gas tax to slow people from consuming so much gas. Put that money into programs that offset the environmental damage and public transportation.

    I buy as much meat as possible from local farmers who generally don’t feed them “corn grown on mega-farms soaked in petroleum-intensive fertilizers.”

    Sure, I too have to drive for my work, but I group my trips so as to cut down on the miles. We also don’t take as many road trips as we used to. Plus, we own a small car that gets somewhere in the low 30 mpg’s as well as the hybrid I use for work.

    I get what you’re saying and I’m with you, but refuse to accept the brunt of the responsibility when so many of my actions are chosen to combat this scourge.

    The truth is, the federal government and corporations have done almost nothing to fix this situation, BP’s spill or the greater ecological crisis in general. When politicians start looking out for the people and the environment in which they live, then we’ll have a government doing something to fix the problem. If corporations ever consider sustainability over greed, they may finally adopt green practices of another sort and offer consumers products that don’t do so much damage.

    Back to your point, it starts with us, but we’re still allowed to be pissed at BP.

  2. Thank you Scott. Not enough people take responsibility for their own actions. Thanks for the refreshing perspective.

  3. The thing that confuses me the most about the situation is why any company can exist without an emergency plan- especially an oil company. I would think this would be one of the main parts of getting a permit from the government to drill in the first place. Am I missing something here?

    I do appreciate your point of responsibility but at this point in the game, we need to focus on solutions not blame. Blame will come later with hours and hours of hearings on Capitol Hill. Will it change anything? Doubt it.

  4. The abdication of oversight responsibilities is clearly a failure of federal government, but I see them as having close to zero role in plugging this leak. I mean there have to be what, 50 people in the world who know ultra-deep water drilling? 100? Guess what, they ain’t working in Washington, D.C. folks. They’re banking 7 or 8 figures with the BPs of the world.

    Observer, I think they had an emergency plan. It just didn’t work. 😉

    The fact of the matter is we’re dealing with extremely high-risk, high-consequence resource extraction here. Until the risk outweighs the potential profit someone’s going to be willing to push the envelope.

    As far as taking responsibility, yeah, I guess I’m accepting my role as part of the problem. But nothing brave about that…I’d need to back it up with more than buying locally-raised meat and veggies to deserve any praise.

  5. Yeah, overall I agree with Scott. We’re really proud that we run our farm almost equipment-free, using about 5 gallons of diesel a month and refilling our truck once a month. But we’re still linked in, using the freedom that oil gives us to move around. I’m not about to bicycle my produce into the market, as one yoyo on the old Tribune site once told me I should do to be truly green.

    Although, not to be too pretentious, there isn’t a single item in our house containing corn syrup. Yes, the organic grains we feed our animals are still produced through large-scale ag, but at least the fertilizers & amendments aren’t oil-based. Still, I’m sure you could find someone far “greener” than us who could look down on us. So I don’t say that to brag or find fault, just to note that there is a very wide spectrum of “we” whose economic choices drive the natural behavior of the oil industry.

    I stand by the comment I put on the last oil spill post, which is somewhat echoed here. “Accidents” are actually a statistical near-certainty; our society’s greatest fault is that we have no concept of cost-benefit analysis for our actions, and thus fail to understand the causes and consequences of our collective choices.

  6. Lucky for you, “builder.” You have the privilege to choose & afford to buy locally, to drive a new car & a hybrid, to have access to a computer & the internet (both likely powered by oil somewhere down the line), to pick and choose what you’re responsible for.

    I hate to say it, because I too am angry, but perhaps we’re blaming the victim.

  7. Lanie, I’m with you. I am very fortunate, but we can all make certain choices regardless of our privilege. Recycling is pretty easy in this town and doesn’t cost a thing. Growing a garden is often cheaper than going to the grocery store. My point is that many of us do what we can to counteract the destruction of our government. Doing what we can for the environment is not limited to those with privilege. However, the same cannot be said for our government.

    Your point of blaming the victim was exactly what I was getting at, but it may have been lost in my initial reaction.

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