The Gulf Oil Spill: The Silver Lining

The worst the oil spill in the Gulf becomes the brighter becomes its silver lining.

We live in an age of economic reasoning. Whatever produces more stuff cheaper will always win. Nothing makes more stuff cheaper than products made by oil. Oil is in nearly everything we grow and consume.

The only problem with oil is that its poison. Stuff made by oil is often resistant to natural degradation in the environment. Plastic bags floating in the oceans have now created actual islands of garbage. These vast and rapidly growing islands of plastic are, literally, immense floating death zones. One in the western Pacific is larger in area than the state of New Jersey.

As oil has become increasingly scarce, its sources of exploitation have become proportionately more technically challenging, as well as posing much greater threats to the planet’s rapidly deteriorating environment. The precipitous decline of environmental quality is now the cause of the planet’s greatest plant and animal extinction since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But unlike every other of the world’s great extinctions, this current extinction event is caused by the actions of only one of its species; human beings and oil is a very large part of that cause.

The age of economic reasoning is dominated by the most powerful economic actors: namely the largest corporations and their partners in government. These actors will always do what comes most easily, which is to grow the current economy. We do that by creating opportunities to make more stuff. And the reason why we are addicted to the most stuff is simple. Those societies that have the most stuff per capita are deemed the most successful. It doesn’t matter what kinds of stuff, just as long as its stuff.

Thus countries like the United States with its cheap food and access to an unrivaled quantity of stuff are thought of as the best places to live because an American can own the most stuff.

This is the inevitable outcome of economic reasoning. What may first appear to be a social good evolves to becoming a form of social enslavement. We are now the slaves of stuff and the planet is now a victim of stuff.

The BP Gulf Oil catastrophe shows us in the most graphic terms how this way of life is killing the planet. Although very few people are likely to admit it, but we are really at a decisive crossroads. We can continue to buy the corporate/political line that the oil based way of life is our only option, or we can evolve in the direction of wisdom and we can stop and reflect on how this way of life is not only effecting the whole array of life on earth, but how it enslaves people to the universe of stuff and garbage.

Is this what we really want?

This is a case where wisdom must merge with strength of conviction. The planet is really not served by tiny enclaves of hippies who live off the grid. The urgency to make changes to our economic and political structure is really on the shoulders of every one of us.

We have to bring to an end the age of cheap stuff produced by oil. We must do this now. No more drilling in the oceans. No consideration of tar sands. We must make the transition to living on renewable energy sources and we must do this now. If this means large-scale reductions in the amount of stuff in our lives and less immediate convenience, then so be it. We have to move this discussion from the realm of imagination to actual daily life. We must wake up to the carnage we are wrecking on the earth’s well-being and on ourselves. And we must be willing to make the sacrifices in stuff to make this possible. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for some imaginary future where science and technology will make this transition possible without some sacrifice. This is the revolution of the soul and its time is now.

This means to say an unequivocal NO to the rapacious demands of our largest industrial and financial corporations and their government pawns. This will mean that we must take to the streets and do what needs to be done to move the locus of control from the hand full of corporate warlords to the masses of people who love and care for the earth.

This means that the age of economic reasoning must come to an end. The horrible death zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Oceans, must become our symbols. Add into that our collapsing state and national economies that have bought into the financial schemes of the Goldman-Sachs of the world. It’s always the little guy that gets hurt. This must end. Those responsible for the killing of the planet, those that sell us the idea that life is fundamentally about acquiring stuff, those must pay for the consequences of this philosophy. The little guy has already paid enough.

The rich and powerful nearly always benefit from catastrophe. Everyone and everything else pays for their recklessness. Let us now set the balance and restore the well being on the only living planet in the known cosmos. Let us celebrate the preciousness of life in this crucial time.

Make the time of reckoning possible. If this spill motivates us to finally do the right thing, then will all of its pain, it will have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

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