I’ve been actively avoiding the news since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. It’s just too heartbreaking to read about dead dolphins washing up by the dozens, or to hear about the thousands of birds that are slowly suffocating under a thick layer of oil.
(Never mind that someone has invented a revolutionary machine to clean the birds. It’s still a sad commentary that we’re ingenious enough to invent a bird-cleaning machine, but not quite smart enough to prevent its need in the first place.)
Anyway … I realized today that there’s an element of hypocrisy to my denial. Not until I logged in to check my bank balance—and not until I saw “BP Lauderdale” among my recent transactions—did it hit home that I’m complicit, to an extent.
I was reminded of a letter to the editor that ran in the Star Tribune on May 5:
About that oil spill off the Louisiana coast: It was my fault. Well, not just my fault, but the fault of everyone who, like me, hasn’t done everything possible to limit the amount of gasoline we use. … every time I drive to work when I could bike, or drive to the store when I could walk, I’m contributing to the demand that keeps these offshore oil rigs running. There’s a private high school near my house. I see a lot of kids who drive cars to school, even though the Minneapolis school district provides free busing. The roads are full of people driving big SUVs. When we look at the images of oil washing up on the Louisiana shoreline, we should connect the dots and work on changing our own behavior.
As of today, I’ve resolved to carpool, ride my bike more, and occasionally even take the bus.
I’ll probably get rained on occasionally. But I’d rather be covered in water than see 1,000 birds coated in oil.