Sunday, June 20, 2010
BP R US
MY FATHER LOVED POGO. So I was long ago introduced to "We have met the enemy and he is us." As the BP tar balls head towards the Okefenokee Swamp, Pogo and Albert Alligator on Father's Day, I think of him again.
The US consumes far more oil per person than any other country. We long ago passed our peak oil supply, and now the rest of the world is too, at the same time that they follow our example of profligate oil use.
Because of me and my older sister, my parents moved from New York to the suburbs. For most of my first decade, we lived in a three-bedroom, one-bath house that was about a third the size of the average spec house built in this decade. We had one car – my father either walked to the railroad station or my mother would drive him there. My sister and I walked to our neighborhood school. No one talked about organic food or local produce, because petro-chemical based agribusiness was in its infancy. In many ways, it was a more pleasant life than the average suburban life today, but it is suburban life today that produces most of our carbon footprint. As a resident of Manhattan, my footprint is around a third of the average American's.
In a very short time, we've built a way of life that requires most Americans to drive everywhere for everything, even though more than half of all Americans can't drive.* We save Wal-Mart money by driving to their scattered warehouses to pick up our purchases, and we bring them back in bulk to our home warehouses, that we also fill with inexpensive Chinese stuff from Target, Best Buy and Bed, Bath & Beyond. To do this we buy SUVs and vans that get terrible mileage. It all adds up, and in the end we have to drill for oil way out in the gulf.
* The young, the old and the poor.
after Steve Mouzon's BP or US?
The BP oil spill is a metaphor for the American Way of Life: wasting oil and destroying the environment. Thank you for connecting the dots just in case anyone doesn't understand that what brought us to BP was America's insatiable thirst for oil.
Posted by: Community Jane at Jun 23, 2010 2:15:29 AM
Thanks, John! I agree completely, as you can see here: http://bit.ly/c8NOx4
Posted by: Steve Mouzon at Jun 23, 2010 8:15:36 AM