Saturday, 19 June 2010


Root causes are seldom mentioned when finger-pointing the blame for the Gulf Oil Spill, the slaughter of thousands in Mexican Drug Wars, and the like - problems that would not exist if we were to curtail our addiction to oil, drugs, guns, and money. The endless accumulation of wealth in a few hands is a human failure but provides us with villains. Drug cartels have filled rooms with billions of dollars and created lavish life styles that invite others to muscle in to the tune of thousands of bodies, bullet-ridden by weapons eagerly provided by unrestricted gun dealers. The hundreds of US factories operating in the Cuidad Juarez area pay a maximum of $75 per week so it is much more lucrative to get into the drug trade.
BP (40% British and 39% US owned) has amassed billions in profits by satisfying our craving for oil so is a natural target for blame when something goes wrong which is certain to happen when we go to the extremes of technology to extract the last drop of a finite resource instead of pursuing the logical course of mass transit, putting truck traffic back on the rails, and increasing the price of fossil energy to encourage more investment in green sources. Our oil addiction has blinded us. We forget the almost-identical Trans-Ocean spill of June 1979 in the Gulf when the same blowout preventer failed and only 2 relief wells stopped the escape 9 months later. That was in 200 feet of water, now it is 5,000 feet, and in the interim there has been no insistence or regulations that rescue techniques be improved.
Also, we are selfish. No one here seems to care about the plight of Nigerians who, since 1958, have endured 23 million gallons of oil spills that are increasing annually, mainly from Shell wells. Destitute Nigerians lack a president who cares enough to force restitution and reimbursement from oil companies.
For the foreseeable future we are restricted to one world that is heavily burdened with too many humans, creating an unsustainable consumption of finite resources and an unsustainable gap between rich and poor. Progress at closing this gap has occurred in places like Brazil and China, but much, much more is essential - and this will, at least for the time being, demand sacrifices from us who have been hogging more than our share of world resources.

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