Don’t Blame BP. Blame me.

I haven’t yet heard anyone say what needs to be said about the gulf oil spill: I drive a petroleum-powered vehicle  so I am to blame. There I said it. Let me say it again: I drive a petroleum-powered vehicle so I am to blame for the gulf oil spill. You must spank me.

I cannot blame BP. BP is just one more corporate scape goat diverting my attention from my own failings. There will be many more BPs attracted to environmental risk-taking as the price of oil raises the stakes, like a rising jackpot attracts gamblers.

I am addicted to oil. How then can I blame BP? Can the drug addict blame the pusher for the social woes of illicit drug use? BP is simply a tool that society has manifested in order to fulfill my desires. I shouldn’t question BP, I should question my desires.

I ask myself if I really need to run my errands at speeds above 20mph. I ask myself if I really need to live farther than ten miles from my workplace or school. I ask myself if I really need to drive thousands of miles a year. My answers to these questions lead me to conclude, sadly, that I must take the green bumper stickers off my car.

This may seem like a harsh analysis. I hope you can understand the epic denial I have about the true source of blame for the gulf oil spill. And yet there is an even more epic denial I admit to: the spill has only damaged one ocean; global climate change, caused by me personally, is damaging the entire planet. It’s hard for me to face guilt that large. I try not to despair. I look into my heart and imagine a better place. And I try to make it happen.

  • Agreed. The flip side of your analysis is the realization that oil spills, no matter who is at actual fault, are a cost of owning and operating a gas/diesel vehicle. You can do what you can to minimize your use, but the cost will still be there.

    Now do i think we can live without it? No way. So we have to accept the cost. And that cost should be a part of the equation every time we estimate the risk and rewards of driving.


  • admin

    I edited this post to make it less confrontational.

  • Yes, we should all stop living and desiring and then the planet will be fine. BP has to take a large portion of the blame. There is demand for all sorts of resources but that does not give corporations the right to pollute.

    • admin

      It’s funny how people equate driving with living.

      I drive a petroleum-powered vehicle. Like BP I pollute. I pollute all the time. What are you going to do about it?

      I find it astonishing that environmentalists and the mainstream media aren’t making a connection between the spill and the energy use of our society, and instead are focusing on spanking BP. I’m not saying BP isn’t guilty of something. Only that I’m more guilty than they are. Spank me too. Encourage me to not use my car so much. Please.

      I look at the photo accompanying this post and I don’t think “BP did that!” I think “I am partially responsible for that devastation.” Is there anyone out there who is brave enough to admit they feel the same way? Conversely, is there anyone out there who can honestly say “I am not partially responsible for that devastation”?

      Yesterday I did finally hear someone on NPR criticize Obama for not capitalizing on the spill to help push the energy bill. That’s progress I guess.

      (BTW I edited this post again to make it less pretentious and then I sugar-coated it with a bit of humor. Sheesh! People take this stuff seriously! I’m actually not an environmentalist, I just like to bike without a lot of cars getting in my way. I hope this post will guilt-trip some people into leaving their cars at home. 🙂 )

  • Who said anything about living=driving. If you live in a modern built house, eat, buy clothes, use a computer, (list goes on and on), you are making a demand on natural resources. That’s what I meant by “There is demand for all sorts of resources”.

  • The facebook “stop offshore drilling now!” and the like pages include so many “sigh, but we will all drive today anyway.”
    I’m looking for a way to inpsire some mass inspiration… ya know, that “team spirit” thing. If people could boycott the busses in Montgomery… that wasn’t easy, either.

  • They make green bumper stickers for cars?

    • admin

      The bumper sticker is one of the major forms of left-leaning political expression in Ithaca. Typically the vehicle for this expression is a smoke-belching Subaru or Volvo. Dont’ get me wrong. I’m glad Ithaca has a lot of environmentalists. But I think those well-meaning environmentalists are actually slowing the pace of change. I imagine environmentalists thinking along the lines of “Well I watch environmental TV shows and I listen to environmental radio shows and I read environmental books so I must be doing something to help the environment. (Oh yeah and I recycle too.)” Thus having sated their environmental urges, they fail to make any actual changes to their lives that would help the environment.

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  • ????????

    no matter what you do you will always be damaging the earth like now on the computer.