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Our Lack of Concern for Others Can End Up destroying Us

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Last week the New York Times had an article about fifty years of oil spills in the Niger Delta.[1] The people there wonder how we get such response to BP’s destroying livelihoods and life in the gulf, when they have to live in such spills all the time. That reminds me how the military dictator of Nigeria quickly hanged eleven environmental activists, among them the great Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Now whenever women there demonstrate, soldiers beat them with billy-clubs and drive them away.

Had we cared about them and found out what oil companies did over there, would we have so uncritically listened to the refrain, “drill, baby, drill” ? And now that we hear how oil companies are destroying the Peruvian Amazon (Today on NPR Morning Edition)[2] and the children have cadmium and lead in their systems from the spills, and the rain forest there will never recover, do we care? We care about our own disaster in the gulf. Had we cared about what happened in Nigeria, where that government back in 1995 was for and of and bought “buy” the oil companies and against its own people, then we would have been on guard when the “drill, baby, drill” craze got going here in Cheney’s secret energy policy.

Having mentioned that secret energy meeting in which Cheney stonewalled congress, it turns out that the cocktails of chemicals that natural gas companies use to frag the rocks (the shale) and free the natural gas are EPA exempt. They consider the cocktail proprietary, like the recipe of a baker; don’t mind the possibility that they are highly toxic to the people of Pennsylvania, Colorado, and other states.[3] Only here, where government is a bad word, can you turn on your water spicket and find out that it is now mixed with natural gas and has become flammable!

When our wallets get in the way, it is very hard to understand simple truths and when huge amounts of money are involved, the inertia for profit rather than losses, can hurt many people, before regulations find the traction to stop the hurtful practice. Remember Love Canal? The company pouring all those toxic chemicals into the ground was called “Grace”! Some companies have ethics, others keep on doing rot, as Grace continued to do in a later asbestos scandal. If corporations are persons – in the eyes of the law – then how come they can get away with murder by changing their names? A person can’t do that. If they have to be limited liability operations to function, they should not be considered persons, because person have full responsibility for their actions.


[1]“Far from Gulf, A Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old” by Adam Nossiter, (NYT 6/16/2010)

[2] Toll Of Oil Drilling Felt In Peru’s Amazon Basin

[3] USA Rivers Being Polluted Like the Gulf by Nat Gas Fragging

USA Rivers Being Polluted Like the Gulf by Nat Gas Fragging


Written by peterkrey

June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm

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