Today, in the Huffington Post, Shell’s Chukchi Sea Drilling Halted For Safety Reasons got my attention. I took a moment to post a comment on a comment following the story.
The first Huff Post comment read:
This is one of those things where someone should say, “Let he who doesn’t drive a car, doesn’t heat, cool, and power his home using fossil fuel energy, who doesn’t use anything made of plastic, who doesn’t eat food grown with petroleum based fertilizers and insecticides, cast the first stone.”
If we’re looking for someone to blame for oil spills, we need look no farther than in the mirror.
Casting stones isn’t the answer— it feels good until you get hit by one yourself. It’s probably better to just stop sinning. But most of us have inherited this consumptive / fossil fuel lifestyle and so can scarcely imagine a world without the comforts and conveniences made available by the oil industry— automobile transportation, for instance. What’s more, industry isn’t motivated to dam their revenue stream nor divert their quid pro quo arrangements with compliant government officials nor otherwise interfere with simply doing their business as usual. I wonder if at the helm whether I’d do differently. Would self-interest allow insouciant drilling in sensitive regions, and attendant environmental disasters to seem acceptable…as long as people don’t stop buying products? In any event, any meaningful change in the status quo would require nothing less than a wholesale, perhaps uncomfortable shift in day to day and long-term priorities. Whether self-initiated today because of overwhelming preservationist ideals, or whether imposed on us through near or distant environmental catastrophe, we as a society are probably in for some kind of unsettling transformation, regardless.
What to do?
It seems the underlying hope is that someone, somewhere— a scientist, an inventor, an entrepreneur— will step up and offer a solution that undoes the vast damage we’ve done to our world over our industrialized history in one fell swoop. Or, maybe that Superman will fly down and ram a shoulder into this runaway train and preventing its filled passenger cars from hurtling into the lurch below the collapsed bridge ahead. Or, that the hand of God will finally…
My Huff Post comment:
While an otherwise unrepentant sinner, I have abstained from driving my car and using home air conditioning since March. As well, unless unavailable I buy only organic food. Not enough to justify casting any stones, but perhaps— if others decide they too can patiently exert the leverage inherent in their commercial choices— supply and demand can begin imparting its own justice. Actually, it already is.