The Merry Month of May…

Posted: May 30, 2010 in Politics, Science
Tags: ,

is almost over. Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope you all enjoy the day off tomorrow. Some of you will spend some time around the grill, or out with your family or friends. Some of you will go running, and enjoy a nice day out on the lake. Some of you will even go hiking in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Some of you are going to sit at home and watch war movies all day on the telly.

Whatever you do, please take some time to remember the folks who can’t be home this year. According to the pentagon that’s around 4400 U.S. servicemen and women dead in Iraq and another almost 1100 in Afghanistan. And that doesn’t include the maimed and injured that are still recovering in hospitals. Thank and love the ones that have come home, and remember that war is something that no one ever recovers from. Always remember that these men and women are our friends and neighbors, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. But most importantly these are Americans. Let’s honor them by ending the war and bringing them home alive.

In other news, we’re currently staring down the barrels (all puns intended) of the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. History. In all likelihood, it will rise to become the worst human caused disaster in the history of our planet. No one wants to say that now, but really, it’s their job to not say things like that. The real fun is going to come when BP has to actually take responsibility when the bodies of the animals start showing up on the beaches. We need to start asking the question: What should the economic penalty be for driving a species to extinction? What happens when this spill is responsible for wiping Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and Kemp Sea Turtles off the planet?

There has been a persistent dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico for a long time, which varies in size over time. This spill has the possibility of turning the entire Gulf into one big dead zone. I liked this quote from Larry Schweiger (president of the National Wildlife Federation):

“When oil collides with wildlife,” Schweiger said, “oil always wins.”

That pretty much sums it up. And that’s the really traumatic part: oil wins, and we haven’t got the slightest idea how to mitigate the damage.

Believe it or not, I have every confidence that BP is doing everything they can. I expect that they’ve hired Boots and Coots, or someone equally familiar with well control to come up with the most innovative solutions possible. The reality is simply that there is not a whole hell of a lot that can be done. It’s not going to be pretty.

I don’t know how this is going to finally play out. However, if history is any guide, it’s going to be great for BP. Their profits were up 135% this quarter, though I expect that they will take a cosmetic hit in the near term. In the long term, however, I expect that things will be remarkably similar to the aftermath of the Valdez Spill. Exxon didn’t go out of business and spent twenty years litigating the issue, while racking up record profits. Don’t be surprised when BP follows this model.

Businesses do these things not because they are evil. They do them because they want to make a profit. And as long as there is profit to be made from destroying our planet, then someone out there is going to form a corporation to make that profit. Until we AS A SPECIES decide to make destroying the environment unprofitable, there will always exist corporations that will do it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m opposed to profits. That’s not the case at all. There are just some things which, in my opinion, should never be allowed to be profitable: destroying the environment, killing human beings, abusing animals, etc. However, as long as our society allows corporations to profit from these things, they will. And when BP is still turning record profits next year, rather than going out of business, who will be shocked? Certainly not me.


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