Who’s to blame for the Oil Spill: BP or Ourselves?

Apart from all of the run-of-the-mill posts and articles that I have read about the BP Gulf Spill,  two have stuck in my mind.  Who is actually to blame?


The first is an article by Colin Beavan on his site noimpactman.com called “Taking responsibility for preventing further oil spills”.  In it he argues that the blame for the oil spill does not only lay by BP, but also on every single consumer of oil. The highlight is this:

“Question: When an alcoholic leaves a bar, gets behind the wheel and drunkenly drives into his third or fourth wreck, do you blame the bartender who served the drinks or the alcoholic who drank them? Now answer this: When a society addicted to greater and greater fossil fuel use experiences what may amount to the largest oil spill in world history – after a growing number of other fossil fuel catastrophes – do you blame the oil company that drilled for the oil or the society that uses it?”

Good argument.  We know that oil is a dirty form of energy, however we do not accept our own responsibility and contribution to this disaster i.e. creating demand, which creates risk and then eventually disaster.


This is also a great piece of media by a charity trying to raise money by selling t-shirts to help the relief effort in the Gulf. “Un-fck the Gulf“ is a video and highlights the outrage that we all feel (including Colin Beavan) towards BP.

Oil Spill Charity “F-Bomb-A-Thon” from UnF–kTheGulf.com on Vimeo.

I think the combination should highlight how we all have a personal responsibility.  The second piece of media lays the blame totally at BP’s door, however in reality this anger should also be directed at ourselves for not changing our lifestyles enough and not sacrificing our high carbon lifestyles.

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