Sunday, 7 November 2010

on the planet

Twenty or so minutes ago, I finished watching a documentary on The Gulf of Mexico oil spill and realised that the phrase "lost in thought" has never had such poignancy. Because I am just that; I am thoughtful, now, but I am lost inside those very thoughts. The complexities of the issue are astounding; the hypocrisy, the sorrow, the expectancy, the rueful hope. Throughout it, I found myself empathising and agreeing with the delicately oppositional points of both presenters: the one who frustratedly named BP the greatest villains and the other who reasoned that they are actually doing their best. Yet it is the crab fisherman who said BP weren't to blame that first stole my heart. Because he is right. I am to blame, you are to blame, him and her and him and her and her and him are all to blame. Because everyday we use that oil in some shape or form. We did not set fire to the rig or forcibly spread the oil across the ocean, but we facilitate it. Our very demand is what caused it and our very demand is what caused the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to still be felt today. And yet we are so far stuck in a rut of using oil (or coal, or gas for that matter) that we do not yet know the way out or the way to change. It is no exaggeration to say that our lives are, at the moment, dependant upon it. And yet we can very legitimately sit and criticise BP for their dealings with it; we can say that they shouldn't drill where they don't have the measures to protect against its failings, and we can say that they shouldn't be the capitalist predators that they are. But until we change it, until we are strong enough to recognise and alter our behaviour and fund our future in another way, we are just as much to blame as they are, albeit in a slightly different way.

Our planet is beautiful and often, very often, I do not believe we deserve everything it has given us.

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