This is not a jeremiad against petroleum. But don’t expect to chant “drill, baby, drill” after reading this either.
Have a look at this infograph detailing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Did you see the very bottom? Over 3,800 oil wells in the Gulf. I suppose that after drilling so many wells and having so much success, it is understandable that the technology and attitudes that perfected getting oil out of the earth were casual about preventing disaster. It seemed like it would never happen. It did.
Long before humans perfected the use of fossil fuels, however, we perfected the use of CYA. That’s why BP and the U.S. government aren’t being honest about the extent of the oil spilled into the Gulf. For weeks I’ve been griping to friends that there isn’t just one leak. We heard early on that there are at least three leaks. But all the attention from the media and the bickering corporations and the “don’t blame us” Obama administration has been on just one leak. Well, now we learn what’s going on with leak number two - FAR MORE than BP or the U.S. government are willing to admit.
The truth is that as we stand right now, we’re in the worst-case scenario for this oil spill. That can mean only one thing: that the worst-case scenario BP and the U.S. government came up with was actually the best-case scenario. Now we have to start imagining of worster possibilities.
While I think Friedman was way too easy on Obama, his overall assessment was correct. This should be a moment that changes everything. Instead, it will not.
This is such a grievous disaster. I don’t really have a conclusion for this Portrait of Our Economic Meltdown, except to say that it’s so clear that big business and the U.S. government will not change. We people need to change. (And BTW, the way we change isn’t to vote incumbents out of office. We change by changing ourselves, not by changing politicians!) We need to live different lives, not dependent on big-business greed and government fixes.
Change, baby, change!