A week or so ago Tanya DeOliveira advocated over at Dane101 that consumers boycott BP
for the oil spill now plaguing the Gulf.
Journalist Peter Maass, author of Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil
, has an op-ed over at The Big Money which argues that a BP boycott doesn't make sense
. His conclusion: The truth is that we care mightily when BP wreaks havoc in the Gulf of Mexico, but we pay scant attention when Shell harms Nigeria, when Chevron pollutes Ecuador, when PDVSA stains Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, when Suncor extracts oil from tar sands in Canada. It’s understandable that as we watch the live webfeed of the gusher, we want to know what BP officials knew and when they knew it, and we want to know why the Obama administration didn’t react sooner. But if we don’t broaden the horizons of our questions, we run the risk of reinforcing a fairy tale that says we can have our oil and our environment, too. The worst outcome of the mess in the Gulf would be the perpetuation of the conceit that error and greed can be regulated out of the worldwide oil industry.
In other words, we need to change the oil-centric paradigm of our times. It is broken. We must deal with BP, but we must also channel the power of our anger toward reducing consumption of fossil fuels. Smaller cars, less driving, more carpools, public transportation, better home insulation, smaller homes, less meat, more renewable energy—these are the sorts of useful things we can do. It little matters whether we fill our tanks at BP or Exxon stations. What matters is that we visit gas stations less often.
We need more people like my new neighbor whom I met this morning at the bus stop. He lives on the isthmus but works at Epic in Verona. And so his workday begins by taking a bus from home to the campus area where he catches another bus to the west transfer point. From there he hops on route 55 which takes him to the Epic campus. Now that's a commitment to visiting gas stations less often.
ADDENDUM: A few relevant links to add.
First is an article called "Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it."
at The Guardian's website. "With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution." If you want to boycott BP, get ready to boycott Shell and others as well.
Secondly is Tim Dickinson's piece "The Spill, The Scandal and the President">
at Rolling Stone. The Minerals Management Service was a rubber stamp for the oil industry and the Obama administration couldn't give a shit. Remember, Obama wants more drilling.
Lastly there the blog Live For Oil
by a woman named Ashlea who left a comment on this post. She is following the environmental and humanitarian crisis in Ecuador which is dealing with Chevron's disregard for the Amazon.