"Alex Steffen has a fascinating piece up at Worldchanging explaining why they've decided not to cover the BP oil spill.
He seems to have two points. First, that hand-wringing and finger-pointing aren't very productive. And second, that treating the oil spill as if it's an anomalous disaster just furthers the idea that we're basically doing things right. In Steffen's view, the real story is the systemically unsustainable nature of human life on earth, as currently practiced. The BP spill is just a symptom, and not a root problem."Shouldn't a site whose purpose is to explore solutions to planetary problems be all over the planet's most visible current problem?
In a word, no. The decision not to cover the BP Spill has been fairly straightforward for us: we don't do problems, unless we're covering them in order to explain how a solution could work, or unless a new analysis of a problem is so telling that it changes the way we understand how it could be solved. The BP Spill is huge, but not particularly unique....
And oil spills are far from the worst environmental disasters we've unleashed and are in the process of unleashing through the routine operation of our economy as currently designed. Climate change will over the next century almost certainly prove far more destructive to the natural systems and human communities of the Gulf than any oil spill ever could, and that's a problem the Deepwater rig would have worsened if it had worked perfectly, as part of its successful operation. And, as we've mentioned here before, climate change is only the largest problem in a set of interconnected problems that stem from transgressing our planetary boundaries, problems that include massive extinctions, marine deadzones, desertification, and ocean acidification. (source:Read the rest)
The above comment on the article "Seeing Past the BP spill" really impacted me in that it seems so many people in the media and here on these forums, are focusing on a symptom of a relatively small disaster rather than the larger vastly more destructive forces of society at large. The oil spill has in some ways created a diversion from the REAL core problems, those which are systemic and endemic to modern way of living.
Another interesting quote from the above article to help put things into perspective:
"Even in terms of oil spilled in North America, this disaster is small compared to business as usual: more than 90% of all the oil spilled in North America comes from oil leaked from cars (or poured down drains) finding its way to the sea, according to a landmark 2002 report; in the Puget Sound region alone, more oil is leaked from cars and home use every two years than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez."