BP Oil Spill – Frame of Reference

Looking down onto the ocean from above the sky clearly shows one thing: a disaster.  Millions of gallons of oil in the ocean, devastated coastline, impacted wildlife and a lightning rod of a topic.  Where you sit on this issue depends on what is at risk for you as a person, government, politician, investor, corporation, activist, country, etc.  This was obvious to me from the Capitol Hill hearings last week on British Petroleum (BP).  While one House of Representative member accused BP of not taking responsibility, another House of Representative member apologized to BP for being “shaken down” by the U.S. Government.

If you are a BP shareholder one would be very concerned about the loss of market capitalization of BP.  It does effect you directly in your pocket, despite having done nothing wrong.  If you are a fisherman off of the Gulf of Mexico your livelihood for the foreseeable future is severely effected.  If you are a corporation tied to the oil industry you are probably concerned about the negative impact of the BP disaster, but also understand that drilling for oil on land as well as at sea has risks.

If you are an environmentalist your view is that of outrage and probably rightfully so.  The damage to the environment and all the wildlife is outrageous.  Birds, amphibians, crustaceans, fish, shellfish, etc. will be depleted in the Gulf.  Hopefully no species will become a member of the endangered list as a result.

We all can see this disastrous event from many different angles, perspectives and viewpoints depending on how you are impacted and what you see as your core values.  However in order to realize the comforts and advantages of living in the developed world it’s very obvious how linked we are to mining fossil fuels.  Few remember how much oil was spilled as a result of the destroyed wells of the Gulf War.  Alternate energy has promise but the physics behind the science shows that nothing, as of today, is as efficient and applicable as petroleum based fuels.  Nuclear has big risks too.  Negligence and risks unfortunately are viewed as the same thing for some frames of reference.

It’s an awful situation and all frames of reference need to help fix it.


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