Having recently spent several weeks along the Gulf Coast stretching from New Orleans and through Pensacola, and then along the “Forgotten Coast” of the Florida Panhandle near Apalachicola, we are acutely aware of not only the natural beauty of the area, but also the fragile nature of the ecosystems there. Already damaged by the cumulative effects of mankind and the back to back damage from a series of devastating hurricanes, this area is now faced with a challenge beyond our imagination. Having experienced first hand the effects of an oil spill in an area not nearly as fragile or teeming with wildlife, I can only imagine what the long-term effects of this disaster are going to be.
With that said, I want to apologize for this disaster because it is entirely my fault. Yes, BP and Transocean are responsible for the failure of the equipment, and yes, our Government is responsible for the failure to regulate those responsible for the equipment, but in the end I am responsible for my insatiable appetite for oil that caused all this to begin with. I am not a big oil user by any means, so even more responsible, and soon to be crying for help are the fishing fleets that rely on big diesel motors to ply the waters and harvest the fish that will soon be dying by the millions. The day they stop using oil to power their boats is the day I will feel that they should be compensated for the losses they will suffer from this. The truth is none of us are innocent, and once again I include myself with my solar powered home and all my good intentions in this statement. I still drive a truck, I still have more products than I care to think of that are made from oil and I am still a major part of the problem.
So we can cry, and we can point fingers, but in the end there is only one culprit. You, me, and the horse (power) we rode in on. I don’t care how “green" you tell me you are, and I spend a great deal of time telling others how “green” I am. MEA CULPA. I am guilty, you are guilty, and now we will collectively pay the price. The government has said that BP will be responsible for all the costs associated with this spill. I know the birds and fish and turtles and all the other wildlife that teems along these shores are looking forward to receiving their first check from them.
I am not an oil spill expert, but I am smart enough to read between the lines of what our government and the scientists are telling us to realize that this is a disaster of epic proportions, and one that will hasten the tipping point for total global ecological disaster by a magnitude that will not be understood for years or even generations to come. President Obama, bowing to pressure from the Republicans, and desperate to find any other solution to our addiction to oil than actually kicking the habit recently proposed (much to my absolute shock and horror) an increase in offshore drilling to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
There is only one dependence that can be reduced that will help in the end, and that is the dependence on oil and a high carbon footprint lifestyle. Drill Baby Drill only invites Spill Baby Spill, no matter who is in charge. Developing carbon free, renewable sources of energy on a scale equal to or surpassing the nuclear arms or race to the moon may be the only answer that will actually produce any results. So from the car we drive, to the lights in our house, to the plastic bags for our groceries, and a thousand other products we use everyday that we don’t even know are made from oil, like our food, we must all change our ways.