Monday, July 5, 2010

Like hitting oil, commentary about spill strikes a nerve with readers

My column on the oil spill and my premise that the reason for my feelings of guilt and the pollution is our greed touched a nerve with readers. I wanted to respond to just a couple of comments which I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing - with the approval of my editor - because of space reasons:
Comment No. 1 “We aren’t greedy when we take advantage of the things provided to us by way of the oil companies. It’s not BP’s fault they’re drilling one mile underwater. All fault lies with the environmentalists and politicians of both sides. Want to blame someone? Blame them.”

I agree with part of this. The professional environmentalists and the politicians are, on the whole, corrupt. Yes, they’ve made a mess of things! But to say that consumers are not greedy, that it’s not the big oil companies fault? That all fault lies squarely with the politicians and environmentalists? Who made BP "mount their money making machine" (CPE) without safety backups? Oil companies are corrupt and greedy, too! Had they simultaneously drilled a relief well, this disaster could have been avoided. Why didn’t they? And why are they so desperate to drill for oil? Because of the consumer demand for it!

Finger pointing aside, this is a wakeup call. A wakeup call that this trajectory we’re on is devastating and can’t continue. That ‘plastic makes it possible’ only goes so far when you can see and feel the destruction deep inside and you ache for people to wake up and see that ‘life as usual’ isn’t working out so well. When you can’t imagine the world for your children when they grow up. When the marshes will be contaminated to the seventh generation and beyond, all so we can have our ‘stuff’ (and lots of it).

Comment No. 2: "the ocean is the biggest washing machine there is and breaks down everything sooner or later."

I ask, if you would want to walk on your favorite beach that is weeping with oil and strewn with plastic debris and dead wildlife? It doesn’t matter how ‘natural’ oil is, I doubt that any of us will live to see this devastation cleaned up.

Here’s what I say—outrage is good. And if you’re not outraged, I wonder about your survival instincts. Go do what you can. Conserve. Raise your thermostat temperature in summer. Buy less (and refuse plastic bags), drive less. Buy gas at Countrymark on S. 10th Street—it’s drilled in the Midwest and refined here in Indiana.

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