It’s not BP’s fault.

Via on May 4, 2010

oil spill gulf

The Next Frontier in Oil Development.

Corporations Spill, Constituents Still Drive

I am not a Hydrocarbon expert. But I can say with absolute confidence that the spilling of oil in our oceans is as unforgivable as toxic waste dumping, nuclear testing and the everyday effluent of our noxious combustion gasses into our atmosphere.

On reflection on the issue of spilled oil I want to blame the big oil companies, but I find myself lingering on the machinations of our consumer behavior—my own included. Driving cars, flying in planes, eating imported food, building inefficient buildings, failing to turn the lights off. All of our behavior is connected to the demand for hydrocarbons. 6.5 billion human consumers are driving demand for this scarce resource, and our outcry and outrage over our most recent industrial disaster needs a path to action.

In Canada the federal government continues to sell off shore oil drilling rights in our most sensitive ocean ecosystems, the most recent example, the Beaufort Shelf is a sensitive Arctic habitat. In my simple view I believe we should be looking at ways to send pricing signals to the markets for Hydrocarbons which will change consumer behaviour and increase the ability of oil extraction industries to invest in technologies that will reduce the likelihood of continued ecological disasters.

Bottom line, the future value of the oil in the ground will be greater than the price today. The future technology should be superior to today. The value to society of the future energy should deliver more benefits in terms of competitiveness, food production and domestic economic value. At this critical time we need to see Government send clear directives to industry that the economic cost of off shore oil extraction is too great. The industry has continued to fail and deserves to be curtailed for the long term economic and ecologic benefits.

Follow Bhutan, and put a current economic price on the value of an industrial-effluent-free ecosystem and on the future value of the unharvested oil. Gross National Happiness as an economic index offers a future friendly and viable alternative to our current measure of success, GDP.

With government leadership it is possible to send the right pricing indicators to the market to fuel innovation in energy efficiency and curtail destructive human behaviour. So too our choices and the choices of the politicians that represent us need to reflect a fervor for a prosperous economic future of our society, not only the near term buoyancy of our drowning economy.

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About Chris Chopik

Chris Chopik is a sought after speaker and writer on a broad range of green issues. He is a tireless advocate for Quality of Life, Home Energy Labeling, Safe Streets for all users, Forest issues, and Renewable Energy. Chris helps clients business and lifestyle solutions that reduce car dependency and free time. When teaching at Ontario Real Estate Boards Chris encourages his fellow Realtors to become “agents of change”, by communicating that “future friendly houses are worth more”, printing on FSC and post consumer recycled paper and becoming a Carbon Neutral Agent™. Chris has served as a volunteer on several boards and advisory committees including LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), Toronto Real Estate Board's Green Task Force, Green Enterprise Ontario (GEO), Conservation Council of Ontario, West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy, Toronto Solar Roundtable, Green Neighbours Community Action, Green Together, Power To Choose, Pledge To Green, is a Toronto Green Award Judge, and Green Energy Act Alliance Partner.

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12 Responses to “It’s not BP’s fault.”

  1. swati jr* says:

    it is our fault. we must do better…..

  2. I agree. The only way to change behavior on the mass basis needed is to reflect the correct price of energy. Anything that's badly underpriced is going to be used far more than it should be for the good of society. Basis economics has be part of the solution. But even the most basic economics goes haywire if prices don't reflect true costs.

    Bob Weisenberg
    ElephantJournal.com

  3. I agree. The only way to change behavior on the mass basis needed is to reflect the correct price of energy. Anything that's badly underpriced is going to be used far more than it should be for the good of society. Basis economics has be part of the solution. But even the most basic economics goes haywire if prices don't reflect true costs.

    Bob Weisenberg
    ElephantJournal.com

  4. I agree. The only way to change behavior on the mass basis needed is to reflect the correct price of energy. Anything that's badly underpriced is going to be used far more than it should be for the good of society. Basis economics has be part of the solution. But even the most basic economics goes haywire if prices don't reflect true costs.

    Bob Weisenberg
    ElephantJournal.com

  5. We do need to change the way we price energy– both fossil fuels and renewables.

    And I fully agree that we need to accept responsibility for our consumption of fossil fuels as contributory to events such as the oil spill.

    I would further suggest that we need to accept responsibility as voters. We need to elect officials who support changing our energy policies, and we need to speak out to our elected officials once in office.

    There is an opportunity in this environmental disaster to use this as a wake up call on our addiction to oil, much as a DUI can wake up an alcoholic. The choice to get on the path to recovery is ours as a society.

  6. Joe says:

    dr sarah as long as you subsidize me, those who do not agree and the poor I can go along with this view point. The protocol for an incident like this is to set the spill on fire and avoid impending costal disaster. What administration failures prevented this?

    The hard questions need to be asked, those responsible punished. Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli died in the 1500's but seems to be alive and well inside the chicago machine, ripe with graft and corruptions. This is where our leader and his politics come from. AKA Bush with a new mask?

    Animal farm is a great book Dr sara ever read it?

  7. Bud Wilson says:

    Hello Chris… an excellent post. You may want to visit my posting about interdependence, wasteful military spending and the oil spill blame game. here is one to get started…. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/07/change-or-… It appears we share a similar path! Best Regards, Bud

  8. I checked out something related to your post at techcrunch… at any rate, I believe car audio is generally misunderstood but has a lot of excellent quality manufacturers also. -Best Regards, Zofia Stitz

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