A very poignant political cartoon hit my Facebook wall this morning from Politico. Unfortunately, Politico doesn't have a share-to-Blogger option. Since I'm not going to copyright infringe to put the cartoon on this blog, you'll have to go to their site to see it. There is actually another one on the same page that makes the point very well also. On this page look for the one with the oiled pelican on the gas pump and the traffic jam one where the drivers are saying "Dang pigheaded oil companies."
The point of these cartoons is painfully clear: Our insatiable thirst for oil and a refusal to be personally inconvenienced to any significant degree is a major contributing factor to the necessity for offshore drilling and, by fair extension, the disaster that's going on in the Gulf.
We as a country can be justifiably angry at BP, angry at Minerals Management, angry at the President; truly saddened and heartbroken about what's going on down there. But until we care enough and are selfless enough to look at ourselves in the mirror and say "Okay, my self-centered perspective and total disregard for the potential ramifications of quenching my thirst contributed to this as well," nothing will change and this will likely happen again.
Oh sure, maybe you bought an economy car, maybe you bring your own grocery bags, maybe you walk to the store on occasion or dry your clothes on the line (and yes, if we all did all of those things and more it would LESSEN our dependence on oil) but until we're willing to pay for the investment in green energy alternatives with our own money, until we can deal with the sight of windmills on the landscape, until we decide to use public transportation, until we realize what happened in the Gulf could happen in our backyard, until WE DECIDE, it'll happen again.
It's no different than people complaining there's nothing on TV worth watching or thinking it's a shame celebrities are constantly hounded by the paparazzi while they and their neighbors make the choice to watch the shows and buy the rags. Business will always find a way to provide what you'll buy and will quickly stop providing what you won't buy. Personally, I'm not optimistic we'll change our priorities nearly enough to make a substantial difference.