Thursday, May 27, 2010

A very casual observer's opinions on the oil spill

I can’t even watch the footage of the oil spill. Except for one crab and one bird, I have carefully avoided shots of wildlife affected by the spill. I’ve seen the Spill Cam, and I’ve seen the satellite imagery of how large the spill is. Beyond this, I avoid visual coverage of it.

It’s frustrating to me that people are comparing Obama’s reaction to the spill to Bush’s reaction to Katrina. Just because two catastrophes happen in the same place doesn’t mean they’re the same. Bush’s administration was quite unaware of what Katrina had done until days after the hurricane hit. Americans were left to die in New Orleans while the government scrambled to help. There was a humanitarian crisis on our hands the size of which this country had not seen in a very long time.

Is the oil spill as catastrophic? It depends on your idea of catastrophe, but I would argue to say that yes, it’s just as catastrophic. It will affect the area for probably much longer than Katrina has and will. The Gulf is most likely forever changed because of this spill. It’s heartbreaking to think of the ramifications – the animals affected, the economy and jobs that will be affected. It’s terrible.

With Katrina, there was no one responsible but the government. Mother Nature smacked us in the face, and we depend on our government to take care of us when stuff like that happens. This BP disaster was a terrible accident, and while I won’t assign blame, there was and is a company whose job it is to fix it. I would say it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure that the company is fixing it, but ultimately, it’s up to BP to fix this. And it looks like they have, thank God. I don’t understand WHAT THE HELL TOOK SO LONG, but I also know I don’t know anything about oil drilling – I would imagine it’s pretty complicated. (I have to wonder why they don’t have a solid plan in place should disasters like this happen… perhaps this is where government can really shine – forcing oil companies to figure out a way to stop something like this right away the next time it happens…)

I don’t understand people rushing to blame Obama for this. It seems like the people who are blaming the Obama administration are the same people who think government involvement is generally a bad idea. Also, adding a jab to the left side of the spectrum, I don’t agree with people yelling at Obama saying, SEE, THIS IS WHY WE SHOULDN’T DRILL IN OUR WATERS! Those are MY people saying that, democrats, liberals, etc. How about instead of yelling about not drilling, we come up with an answer for this global oil-dependence crisis? How about us Americans come up with a way to be less dependent on OIL in general, foreign AND domestic? If oil drilling is so terrible, we need to figure out another way to power our cars – plain and simple.

If anything, I think this spill should serve as a wake-up call that we are destroying our planet with our complacency. We should be encouraging children to study science and math and come up with a way to end our dependence on oil. This is not good enough – it needs to be better. And no one is going to fix it but us.

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