Even with a bad economy and a recession heading in to its second year, thereâ€™s a certain level of comfort and security most of us as Americans take for granted. But the truth is, when you wake up each morning you have no idea what fate or God or â€œMother Natureâ€ has in store for you.
Imagine what it must feel like to be one of those Americans who woke up six weeks ago with a beautiful spring day ahead and went to bed that night slowly sliding in to hell.
Watching the live video of tens of thousands of barrels of oil pouring in to the Gulf of Mexico every day makes me ill. Iâ€™m not kidding; I had to stop watching it. And now the horror show of suffocating wildlife, their eyes pleading for help, has started to appear everywhere. And Iâ€™m a thousand miles away. Itâ€™s not my life, livelihood, or culture thatâ€™s being destroyed. I donâ€™t know how the people of the Gulf coast are hanging on to their sanity. Iâ€™m in awe of their courage.
The criminal negligence involved here is a subject for another time. For now it will suffice to say that for the fourth largest and highly profitable corporation in the world to have not had contingency plans for this magnitude of disaster is beyond anything for which money can compensate. I doubt anyone will go to jail, but they should.
As for our government; the lack of leadership has been appalling. The local Parish Presidents in Louisiana have shown more native ability to lead than anything that has been said or done in Washington.
And thereâ€™s the rest of us, those who donâ€™t smell oil in our nostrils every day, who havenâ€™t just lost our quality of life perhaps for a generation or more. We think itâ€™s a shame, but it doesnâ€™t really affect us. Thatâ€™s until the ripples reach in to our food prices, until energy costs go up, until real estate prices dipâ€¦.until the oil starts to wash up on east coast beaches.
If youâ€™d like to help your southern neighbors and/or help the poor creatures who are drowning in oil, there are two good, vetted lists of options on the Fox News site and on CNNâ€™s site. Please do what you can. It may be our turn next.
Bloggerâ€™s Note: If you want to get a perspective of what this would mean if it had happened to us. Thereâ€™s a visualization tool on the web called â€œIf It was my homeâ€. Read it and weep.
7 thoughts on “When You Wake Up In The Morning…”
Very poignant summary of this unfolding disaster.
Bill, I really do believe that we haven’t begun to see or feel the long-term fallout from this disaster, including the impact on our food chain and the stock market. I hope I’m wrong.
“The criminal negligence involved here is a subject for another time. For now it will suffice to say that for the fourth largest and highly profitable corporation in the world to have not had contingency plans for this magnitude of disaster is beyond anything for which money can compensate. I doubt anyone will go to jail, but they should.”
Engineering decisions are based on a variety of factors and little has been discussed about what went wrong and why. Claiming criminal is jumping the gun at this point.
The question that should be asked is why were oil companies forced out into such deep waters when there are still huge deposits of oil to be found on land or in shallow, more safer waters?
If it is mechanical or electrical, it can fail, there are no failsafe designs. Keeping this in mind, Americans must re-examine environment policies that *are at the root* of what happened in the Gulf.
I don’t disagree with your premise that we should not be driving companies out in to deep water when there’s safer/easier options closer in.
However, I stick by the premise that I put forth: No matter what or why the circumstances, BP was out there and had a moral responsibility to America and a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders to have contingency plans in place for almost any eventuality that could have occurred. Our government is just as culpable for not seeing that such plans not only existed but that all necessary equipment and manpower was in place to implement them at a moments notice.
There is simply no excuse for this disaster. It was not an act of God, it was human greed and incompetence.
“and had a moral responsibility to America and a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders to have contingency plans in place”
The failed cutoff valve was the prime contingency plan and was federally approved. That valve failed. The back up plan failed. There was no prior experience drilling at this depth and no one was sure what would work.
At a mile down, very little can be done.
Pam, you’re ignoring the underlying villain in the Gulf tragedy: us. Sure both BP and the federal government deserve direct blame for being irresponsible, unprepared and — in British Petroleum’s case (let’s use their real corporate name, not their “let’s hide we’re an oil company” PR logo “BP”) — both greedy and likely criminal.
But the indirect blame is looking at us in the mirror: our addiction to oil, the insidious habit we’ve been promising to kick since the 1970’s. British Petroleum, Exxon, Chevron and the rest of the oil-drug cartel have been out there poised to despoil the sea because we refuse to detox our addiction, the emblems of which are our ubiquitous SUV’s, single-occupant cars on stop-and-go 80-mile commutes to work, and gotta-drive-to-anything suburban sprawl.
Locally we bark for a wider Route 22 while we balk at funding LANTA’s oil-saving long-range expansion plan or extending passenger rail service to NYC or Phila. We rubber-stamp greedy plans to extend western Lehigh County’s sprawl into vanishing farmland while we ignore efforts by groups like Renew Lehigh Valley to forge a regional consensus to reinvigorate our core cities — rejecting the latter’s promise of less oil-consumption in favor of the former’s encouragement of more “drill baby, drill” addiction.
Hey, I’m as furious at both British Petroleum and the federal regulators who were in bed with them as it is possible for the chairman of the Lehigh Valley Sierra Club to be (yes, I confess). But as long as most of us imagine we can continue our worship of the internal combustion engine as if it was 30-cents-a-gallon 1957 — and the wasteful, insane and head-in-the-sand lifestyle it generates, all the corporate “responsibility” and enhanced federal regulation that is possible will not prevent more desecrations of Mother Earth like the Gulf disaster from happening on a regular basis.
As the immortal Pogo said, “We have met the enemy — and he is us.”
“the rest of the oil-drug cartel have been out there poised to despoil the sea because we refuse to detox our addiction”
Oil provides the best energy bang for the buck. Ignoring economics could lead 100,000’s if not millions into poverty.
The sad, simple truth is the alternatives are not ready for prime time.