Saturday, September 11, 2010

Consequences of a Tragic Oil Spill

Blogger's Note : This human-caused tragedy happened half way across the globe from where we are BUT affects our environment and, consequently, each and every one of us nevertheless....

Dealing with the Tragic Oil
Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education,
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University

In accordance with the Natural Law there is a cause and a purpose behind every disaster that takes place. This includes the tragic oil disaster that took place in the Gulf of Mexico during the spring 2010. Needless to say, the cause of such a tragic disaster was due to a serious drilling leak, which popped up deep down at the bottom of this huge sea that was operated by British Petroleum, commonly known as BP. After more than two months the oil is still leaking amounting to thousands of barrels a day.

Confronted Challenges
There are many lessons to be learned from this dangerous event. In the first place, we must keep in mind that, no matter how much hard we try such an episode could be repeated. Hence, we are faced with two types of challenges, which we should face boldly and courageously. The first immediate challenge is to find a way in stopping this further oil leaking, which is killing the entire good habitat of this huge sea in this global area.

This oil spill is now polluting the shores of eastern Mexico as well as those of the southeast portion of the United States. As a result, people are forced to evacuate these shores areas and to refrain from enjoying their vacations on such well liked beaches. This means putting immediately out of work many hotels, fishermen and numerous small businesses of one kind or another. A legitimate question here needs to be raised. What was the original purpose for BP to drill for oil in the midst of such deep ocean?

The reply is easy to realize. It was the making of unlimited corporate money even at the cost of taking vital environmental risks that may even jeopardize human life. However, regardless of what happens in life, we should always be optimistic. We should always preserve what is good and try to learn from what goes wrong. In view of this, we may certainly turn a crisis into a good opportunity. This way we may achieve great benefits in the long range.

One of the lessons we inherited from previous generations goes like this: Prevention is better than cure. This means it is far better to avoid getting a malignant tumor from the outset, than to get it and then try to adopt the best means available in the hope of curing it. This is crystal clear and does not require any explanation or elaboration. Another lesson we learned which seems to follow the one just stated naturally and automatically, may be stated as follows: To err is human and to persist in error is diabolical.

Governments’ Primary Responsibility
Very often people wonder what their governments are doing in order to provide them with a safe and healthy environment. Some of them, while they enjoy the sense of power and prestige attached to their job, they seem to have abdicated totally their sense of responsibility to big industries or corporations. Hence, the primary job of such government officials becomes to boost the industrial and financial interests of such entities whose ultimate purpose is to control the natural resources wherever they could be found.

From the very beginning of human existence, there was a supernatural plan that was meant to serve as a vital guide to provide all humans with security, happiness, serenity and peace. This would involve viewing the entire world as one global community where people learn from early childhood the wisdom of helping each other like brothers and sisters. To this end, we were provided with both the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law for purpose of guiding ourselves properly and effectively to global peace and harmony.

To illustrate all of this with some examples, in the Divine Positive Law we find that we should not kill anyone, a sacred law that has been often transgressed by every single nation that becomes engaged in wars. There is no such a thing as waging a war to bring about peace. This would be a contradiction in terms. Over the past 6,000 of recorded history we find out, with no exception whatsoever, how wars always cause the destruction of the infrastructure of cities where many are left miserably homeless.

Besides, in wars we also observe the ruthless and merciless killing of tens of thousands of innocent people consisting mostly of children, women, the elderly and the sick. In addition, wars force many people into becoming refugees where they mostly live in tents lacking all the vital needs and necessities of life. Finally, wars create tens of thousands of orphans that inflict in children a trauma which they will have to carry with them all their lives. The Divine Positive Law also prohibits us to say lies, and exhorts us to honor our parents and to respect others’ property. The job of every government is to safeguard these laws.

The Natural Law deals directly with anything that affects nature. That would include the environment and human life as well. Let us keep in mind that our greatest enemies are those that abuse us in one way or another. They could be government officials, big industries or corporations that do not attach top priority to our vital needs of life. The topic of this write-up is on Dealing with the Tragic Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. We have already outlined two approaches which should be followed by all means and without any hesitation.

Avoiding Similar Disasters

The first approach seems now to be beyond our control because the harm that is being done to our entire habitat in the Gulf of Mexico is virtually going out of control. However, we should continue to find a solution to bring this oil link under control, no matter how long it may take. In the meantime, all those that were responsible for the drilling of this oil-well in the Gulf of Mexico should be held fully accountable. That would include BP and also government officials that eventually allowed BP to go ahead with this venture.

The second approach to this disastrous and tragic incidence lies in our ability to prevent a recurrence in any sea or ocean in the future. The only way to achieve this, which is still fully under our control, is to have all oil drilling places in the water to be immediately closed down for good and never to be touched again. Those that are opposed to this give only one reason: “there would be great loss of money and besides people need oil.” Statements of this nature reveal lack of responsibility, which may lead us to greater catastrophes.

Which is better to have in this world: “loss of money or loss of human lives?” We cannot have it both ways. If drilling of oil is needed in some way or another, it should not be procured from the bottom of our seas and oceans. We have had human brains that worked hard and successfully to develop weapons of mass destruction included nuclear weapons. Surely we should have also human brains that may work hard and successfully to make human life progress forward with considerable less dependence on oil.

What is keeping this from happening? Is it being prevented by big corporations for fear of making somewhat less money as a result? Also, what causes some governments to view this off-shore drilling as a “right” of big corporations even when proven to be detrimental to the environment and to human life itself? An enemy of ours is generally viewed as one who is a threat to our very own life. If that is the case, those involved with off-shore drilling and those who support such ventures must be brought to their senses as to enable them to review this precarious situation, which we can eventually control.

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