Earth Day, Two Year Anniversary of the BP Oil Spill

Two years.

Not a single BP executive has been prosecuted as a result of this catastrophe.

Two years.

BP’s bill ran up about $30 billion dollars, which they in turn wrote-off of their taxes for their record-breaking profit fiscal year.

Two years.

Earth Day. And the oil is still here.

When profit becomes the end-all be-all of an organization, they begin disregarding the immeasurable costs associated with doing business. For example, the cost 200 million gallons of crude has on an already fragile ecosystem.

David Vitter (R-Louisiana) would have you believe the Gulf has “rebounded” and that the seafood is “as safe and delicious as ever.” Yeah, that extra little tang is just the added flavor that comes with hundreds of gallons of dispersants.  Vitter would have us end moratoriums on deep water drilling because it’s “hurting our economy”. Yeah, well how much did the BP oil spill help out the local economy, Vitter? That’s what I thought.

An investigative piece published today by the Biloxi Sun Herald revealed that the fish are, in fact, not doing so well in the Gulf of Mexico. Along Barataria Bay, La., fishermen are pulling lines out of the water that are dowsed in oil. The fish have everything from open sores, parasitic infections, gashes, mysterious black streaks to birth defects. Remember the hundreds of dead dolphins that mysteriously washed up last year just after the summer mating season ended? Well, it’s not over.

It’s not only ignorant to believe that an ecosystem could experience something on the scale of the BP oil spill and “bounce back” in two year’s time, it’s dangerous. It suggests that if we plug our ears and just ignore a problem, it will go away. It reinforces the false notion that the world’s oceans (or the world itself) are so big that no matter what we do to it, it all gets washed away.

There are 200 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico because of this spill alone. Dispersants do not get rid of oil, they disperse it (shocker, I know).  Which means it’s still out there. Where do people like Vitter think it goes? Out into the Atlantic? Then what? Onto someone else’s shore? No, it’s right here, Vitter, and it’s not going anywhere.

The irony in all of this, not just the accident falling on Earth Day or the lack of legislative oversight that led to the accident again occurring in the same region, inevitably dooming the area to yet another catastrophe, is that politicians like Vitter can somehow twist this tragedy to suit their political agenda. B

The BP oil spill occurred because the governmental agency in charge of monitoring deep water drilling, which is a risky procedure which should not be allowed in the first place, was in bed with the oil companies, figuratively and literally. This lack of oversight allowed BP to skip on safety measures, focusing on profit, which led to the deaths of 11 people. Who did all of this un-legislating? Not Obama. Yet, somehow, the conditions in the Gulf, the “bounced back” wonderful conditions of the Gulf, are all Obama’s fault, or so says Vitter in a mass email I got this morning from him.

This has nothing to do with Obama. This is about all of us and what we are willing to do to live the extravagant lifestyles we do.

It’s the subtle things that never cross our mind: choosing standard shipping when shopping on Amazon.com versus one or two-day shipping. How many people consider the environmental cost associated with flying a package across the country versus driving it? No, they think “when do I need this here” and “which is cheaper.”

That’s the problem: we don’t think about it. We just do it.

We have become so accustomed to having everything readily available to us that how it got there is irrelevant.

The hamburger meat in your fridge: what kind of cow is in that? Dairy? Beef? How many cows are in it? Dozens? Hundreds? Where was the farm the cow lived on? Kansas? Brazil? How did that company acquire the land for their farm, and from whom? What kind of life did that cow live? Did it see the sun? What did it eat? Grass? Corn? Where did the corn come from? Who farmed it? How did it get there? Where did the cow go to be slaughtered? Is it a clean slaughter house? How, when and where was it packaged? Who packaged it? Are they paid a fair wage? Are the conditions safe? Were chemicals added to it to keep it fresh-looking? How does that affect the workers? The water? The air? How did it get to the store you bought it in? Truck? Boat? Train? Airplane? What company transported it? Where do they buy their diesel (BP, maybe?)? How many trucks does that company use in a day? A week? A year? How much gas does that translate to? Was it frozen the entire time? How much fuel does that take?

All for one hamburger.

Please think about the choices you make. Often they affect not only you, but all of us.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/opinion/a-stain-that-wont-wash-away.html?_r=1

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-04-19/bp-oil-spill-sick-fish-discovered/54415076/1

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