Is that ‘Oil’ There Is? Friday Follies

Here it is, Friday again.  There seems to be no lack of great Twitter Friday Follows…that I have followed right along with to gain greater knowledge, fun and frolic.  There also seems to be no lack of follies on the national and international scene. 

This Friday Follies isn’t going to focus so much on my follies…lack of understanding, good sense of foresight…(though I’ve certainly committed my share) as on one that has gained the attention of nearly every person in America as well as globally…the Gulf oil crisis.

What happened?  To condense it to my perception of the short version:  Someone (BP employee or contractor)  didn’t properly check the plumbing during the drilling process.  The proper method or product wasn’t used or failed.  Then, someone  else (another insignificant ordinary worker)  noticed that something didn’t seem quite right and reported it.  However, the project was well behind schedule, and delays were already costing “big bucks.” The person to whom the potential error was reported “decided” it was insignificant, and convinced enough others to ignore it that the drilling proceeded until…kaboom!

Then…all hell broke loose.  And in the truest, and most fervently followed political fashion, finger-pointing began in earnest.  “It’s not my fault”  followed thereafter, and continues.  The theatrics have been followed, summarized succinctly, and well characterized by comedians, political cartoonists and satirists globally.   None of which changes, of course, the devastation that occurred or continues to occur, but which does help to vent the excessive frustration felt as we all gain understanding of just how damaging this is.

The questions of”

  • Who’s responsible?
  • Who’s going to fix it?
  • How long will it take?

will be around for the next couple of decades at least.  Assessing damage and negotiating settlements will keep hundreds, if not thousands of attorneys fully employed for at least that time period.  A lot of money will change hands…most of it, of course…going to the attorneys, who will get bonuses for minimizing settlement costs.

Who remembers the 1986 Space Shuttle Disaster and the subsequent investigation where it was finally determined that the scientist who saw the disaster (potential O ring failure)  in the making was ignored?  While the story line is different, the result and the cause are really not.  We continue not to learn from our mistakes.

Enough lamenting.  At this point, we simply can’t turn back the clock.  Another disaster has happened.  We can complain…we can moan and groan…we can wail about corporate greed and government’s failure to have strong enough safeguards or (again) to react quickly and firmly once disaster struck.

We can also do something entirely different.  We can share responsibility and we can choose to help shape the future.  Is it possible that in some way, each one of us (and I certainly include myself) has been a part of making this disaster? 

When we look at the ways in which we create energy needs…heat, air conditioning, lights, appliances, and vehicles, do we really reflect, for even a moment, the real cost…the cost to the environment…the potential devastation that incidents like this can cause?  Do we stop to think that our own over-consumption is a contributor toward the rush for greater and greater demand for oil and other fossil fuel  production…where supply is much less available, harder to find and harder yet to produce?  Do we realize that this demand contributes to inadequate safeguards and production shortcuts?

And…do we realize that we have options?  Instead of feeling victimized by this disaster…as the families of lost loved ones in the recent coal mine disaster, and the Gulf disaster certainly are…along with the pelicans, turtles, turtles, and fragile ecosystem of the area…we can effect a change

We can begin right where we are.  We can drive less, we can turn off lights we’re not using, turn the air conditioning up and the heat down…if only a few degrees.  We can explore alternative, renewable energy sources, both individually and by supporting utility grid application of renewable energy sources.  Sunshine, wind, and ocean waves are renewable…forever available to us to harness. 

We can start taking responsibility…individually and collectively…by making our own changes, as we hold others (the fossil fuel industry and our government) accountable for cleaning up this mess…and not creating another.   Let’s let this be ALL “Oil” there is.

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