I heard this on television the other day: All the oil that has spewed forth into the Gulf of Mexico to date equals what the US burns in one hour.
I also heard this: While the US comprises 2% of world population, we consume 25% of the world’s energy resources.
I do not vouch for those statistics, although I don’t doubt their validity.
My point is this: We are quick to vilify British Petroleum, but they are only doing what we asked them to do. More oil, please, and make it quick. My car is thirsty. I have to fly to Europe for a wine tasting. I’m moving to the country, so my kids can breathe clean air, even though now my commute is a gasoline-guzzling hour and a half every day.
There’s no question that BP was horrendously irresponsible and unforgivably lax in their safety measures. I am not absolving them of their heinous actions. But we need to take a very close look at our own culpability in this mess.
Americans don’t like regulations, because we want our freedoms. Well, we have the freedom to be irresponsible about our oil consumption, just like we have the freedom to be irresponsible about our personal debt, our birth rate, and our health. What’s it going to take for us to use less energy? Government rationing? Enormous taxes on petroleum products?
Well, we’re going to have to change our lifestyles, because oil is a finite commodity. Doesn’t anybody realize that there are only 15,500 days left to the END of oil? (www.worldometers.info) And that is at today’s rate of consumption, but at a net population gain of around 175,000 people per day, what are the chances of that?
Who are we going to blame when the oil is gone? Or, since I’ll be dead in fewer than 15,500 days, what do I care? It’ll be someone else’s problem then. Well, of course I care, and so should you. Stop looking at BP and start looking at yourself.
If we are unable or unwilling to control our gluttony, then perhaps it’s time for someone else to regulate our behavior. And when that day comes, we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves.