As we all watch an epic world tragedy unfold in the Gulf of Mexico with a reckless deepwater experiment pouring pollutants into the public’s environment, hopefully we collectively grasp the simple truth before us. We are not witnessing poor planning or inadequate regulation or even failed science. Greed has struck again and in the naked quest for more money, sober thinking has been tied-up, gagged and locked in a dark closet. Alas, now we get upfront seats to see the results of premium-grade foolishness.
We all recognize foolishness after the facts are in. When drivers choose to operate automobiles and send text messages at the same time (yes, I’m talking to you) society tolerates it until one driver’s choice kills an innocent person unlucky enough to be the human price paid for society’s love affair with multi-tasking. Then, at the funeral, we file by the bodily remnant of a soul too soon departed and we decry the foolishness that led to a preventable tragedy.
So is deepwater drilling foolish business? Well, maybe it isn’t if you know what you’re doing. Oh, wait…everyone thought BP knew what they were doing. They had $17 billion in profit a year to prove it, right? What we now know is that no one inside the oil industry, or outside of it, knows how to stop an oil gusher miles beneath the ocean’s surface. And as we watch dangerous hazardous waste pour out of a purposeful man-made hole in the Earth, we should all be asking, “Didn’t anyone foresee this possibility?”
I’m sure the petroleum crowd will chime in about here and say something like, “Our industry has been drilling in oceans for years without any problems.” Well, let’s do the math. The first offshore drilling occurred in the 1930s. So, even if only one environmentally catastrophic event happens every 80 years, it appears clear the environment can’t absorb that rate of punishment. The world only needs one of these events to understand that ocean oil drilling has never been environmentally friendly or even environmentally neutral. I’m confident the brilliant minds running Chernobyl thought they were better than your average nuclear scientist until something went wrong. And this is how and why foolishness always finds a home. Harvesting the Earth’s resources can run catastrophic risks and requires the vigilant exercise of extreme caution. Yet too often greed and folly rush in because wealth just can’t wait for safety’s sake.
The geniuses who worked BP’s plan to drill deep underwater without a realistic foolproof method of shutting off the spigot, need to be called to account. Choosing to forego hard thinking about details such as the potential for catastrophic failure can and does kill people, birds, fish, oysters, plankton (half the earth’s oxygen comes from microscopic marine life we can’t see), communities and economies. Reckless behavior generally exists because those with the power to stop or check such behavior have too much to gain and nothing important to lose. BP’s CEO has already made millions from his reckless company. He presently sails his yacht in pristine waters. Meanwhile, others drown in the foolishness of Big Oil.
For more information please visit AllenStewart.com