Is BP a villain? Or are we?
I’m writing this on Sunday evening as I’ll be looking after an ill child on Monday morning when this post will go live. I’ve just watched Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine’s programme about the aftermath of the BP oilspill. They ascertained fairly easily that despite many assurances from many people, pundits and at one point BP itself, that at least 75% of the oil is still in the water – it is only the 25% we can see that has been cleared up – and the dispersant used to achieve that may be as bad as the oil itself.
Where the intrepid pair diverged in their opinion is the blame. Fry took the attitude that it is society’s demand for oil that makes companies like BP attempt to drill for oil in such hostile environments, and the company was trying its best to rectify the situation as it possibly could. Carwardine’s attitude was that a company raking in such vast profits was fully responsible and were trying to put the best spin on the limited clean up they can actually do.
So who is right?
In my opinion they both are. Dividing society into producers and consumers is a false construct. We are all people whether we are premier league footballers, street sweepers or pensioners. We all consume and we all rely on production for income one way or another*. We can’t divide the two and point the finger. Business has responsibility to society and society has responsibility to the planet. If both fulfilled that responsibility properly, the world would be a much better place.
* unless you live in a yurt in the wilderness and forage for roots.