Why We’re All Responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill

While watching the news this morning, the reporter was stating that the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico is now estimated to be 60,000 barrels per day. Last week they were saying it was between 20,000 and 40,000. When the explosion first happened, original estimates sat around 5,000 barrels per day. At this point there are millions and millions of barrels worth of oil flowing through the ocean, destroying beaches and wetlands, killing marine life, and utterly destroying the livelihoods of many, many people in the area.

While all of this is going on, one has to wonder who is to blame. Fingers are being pointed all over the place, and they’re generally pointed in the direction of BP. It was their oil rig, so the explosion, and resulting devastation is their fault. This fact, along with new reports suggesting that BP officials were receiving reports that the rig wasn’t safe might lead us to believe that all this finger-pointing is in the correct direction, but is it?

In part, yes. They should have had some sort of plan in place for this sort of emergency. They should have listened to the reports. While this is all true, I have some startling news. I am personally responsible for the spill. Sitting here in my house, thousands of kilometers from the Gulf, I managed to cause great destruction, loss of life, and destroyed an entire industry.

Oil rigPhoto: Mike Baird

British Petroleum is a business, just like any other business in the world. They provide a product, and I, as the consumer, purchase the product. If I stop purchasing the product, they will cease to produce it. Each day when we get into our cars, we’re saying that we’d like them to please continue extracting oil from the planet. Each time we use something made from plastic, we’re encouraging the big oil companies to continue producing the goods.

While what happened, and is continuing to happen in the Gulf of Mexico is tragic, it was, at the end of the day, a mistake. It is my honest opinion that we are all just as much at fault for this disaster as BP is. The only way that we can truly prevent something like this from happening again is if we stop utilizing the products being produced.