The Gulf Oil Spill is Your Fault, and Mine

The Gulf Oil disaster was 30 years in the making according to an eye-opening TED Talk by conservationist Dr. Carl Safina.  The noted ecologist and author spoke at the TEDxOilSpill conference in Washington, DC. Through detailed investigation and heartbreaking images and stories, he answered the questions: “what does the Gulf oil disaster really mean and why did it happen?”

Dr. Safina identifies the trend that has befallen the country and the environment: the culture of deregulation where corporations have risen above the law.  "I refuse to acknowledge this as anything like an accident... I think this is the result of gross negligence, not just BP.  BP operated very sloppily and very recklessly because they could, and they were allowed to do so because of the absolute failure of oversight of the government that is supposed to be our government protecting us,” he said.

Safina examines how the approximate 30 year trend of deregulation has been behind some of the major and recent crises our nation has experienced including the BP oil disaster, the bank bailouts and the mortgage crisis. "Where did this oil leak stem from?  It really started from the destruction of the idea that the government is there because it’s our government meant to protect the larger public interest... root causes: money and ideology."  Safina adds, “There has been a culture of deregulation that is caused directly by the people who we need to be protected from, buying the government out from under us.”

If we accept his premise as true, then it also leaves us with some questions to ask ourselves.  How did we, the public, let it get this way?  As consumers who have gotten used to getting pretty much whatever we want and rather quickly, have we turned the power over to the corporations who have everything but our best interest in mind?  By corporations feeding our “wants” like a drug dealer feeding a heroine addict, have we become so comfortable and complacent that it’s us – the American people - who have allowed them to grow so big?  Is it possible for us to reduce the power of corporations by retraining ourselves to seek out smaller businesses, mom and pops, farmers markets, coops etc... and doing more for ourselves?  As Safina said, "We're either going to have an absolutely unmitigated catastrophe of this oil leak in the Gulf, or we will make the moment we need out of this..."

Does this get your brain going?  Check out TED Talks. Billed as “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world,”  TED gathers some of the world’s best public speakers and streams their talks wordwide.  Find out why TED has a huge cult following.  Warning: there are some mind-blowing experiences underneath this link.