It seems that the horrendous environmental tragedy that surrounds the destruction of the deep water oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico has deteriorated into an endless stream of inane sound bites that seek to portray some villain whether it be BP, the oil industry, President Obama or the U.S. Government. Even environmentalists have been tossed into this caldron of anger and hostility.
Everyone seems to be evading and avoiding the fundamental issues that present themselves to us in such a graphic form. At the very heart of this disaster there exist a number of factors that belie the world view that is a fundamental aspect of modern industrial, technological and capital-driven civilization. Primarily, we have come to regard the individual pursuit of happiness as defined by and through material acquisition as being of absolutely critical importance. This is so fundamental to our collective conception of self that the rest of the living world and even the less “fortunate” members of our species are seen as essentially expendable in relation to this goal. Secondarily, our awareness of the biologically diverse and vibrant planet upon which we live has become deadened and eviscerated by our destructive allegiance to the idea of progress that we hold so dear.
The death of so much vital living abundance not only on the Gulf Coast but also of those creatures who navigate through that vast body of water poisoned by the human thirst for energy and all our various commodities that are fashioned by so-called “black gold” does not seem to be understood. There is no great outcry regarding this monumental desecration; there is no mass protestation in favor of life and a sane and viable future for those that follow us. I do not hear any call for us to recognize our own participation in this madness.
It seems to me that there is an important object lesson in this disaster. We need to reorder our priorities and incorporate the entirety of the living world in our understanding of ourselves and the way we do business. If we go on as before, we will risk the future of our species. Are we capable of this level of intelligence, or will we continue to allow our behavior to be directed by avarice and fear and the destructive emotions they engender?