So after weeks and weeks of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, we have a pause. We have cautious optimism. There are still things that could go wrong, but we have progress and hope that the worst is behind us.
Has anyone else been looking at what they use everyday? I don't own a car, but I take the bus which uses petroleum products. Plastics come from petroleum products. Does that include the plastic in the pens I use daily? The disposable drink cups at coffee shops and fast food joints? The many disposable containers that bring food into my home, from produce bags to peanut butter jars? What about all that shrink wrap on everything from books and CDs to new furniture? What about all the plastic on this computer I'm using right this minute? Are these seemingly innocuous things part of our "addiction to oil?" (I'm actually asking. I don't know what other sources produce plastics. Are there other sources? I know, I know, I live in the age of Google, I should be able to find this out. My first attempt, though, confirmed the "plastics from petroleum" thing, but then got technical rather quickly. I'm totally a fine arts/liberal arts guy. Technical stuff loses me very quickly.)
A few weeks back, there was a rather silly video with kittens "acting" out the attitudes of oil executives. It wasn't all that profound, but it's final statement haunts me: "Because you're not mad enough to stop driving your car."
I spent about 15 seconds feeling smug about not owning a car, but then started looking at everything I have and use and dispose of daily that are made of plastic. I've tried to think about how I would go about not using plastic. Talk about a lifestyle change! Is it possible to get any foodstuff into our homes without using plastics? Short of hunting and foraging for our every need and storing leftovers in containers made of stoneware or metal, it appears impractical to try. The ubiquitous convenience of oil and it's byproducts so saturate our lives we practically need new lives to do without it.
And that's the thing. Convenience. It's easier to complain about BP and it's carelessness while sipping on our plastic straws from our plastic cups than it is to give up the lifestyle of consuming BP's product. All these plastics are convenient. To try to live around and without plastics would be hugely disruptive to any life in these United States.
In thinking about all these things, a slight theological leap occurred within my pea brain. Over the centuries since Jesus walked the earth, there have been attempts to blame someone for killing Christ, most famously the antisemitism that wants to blame the Jews---and not just the Jews of 2,000 years ago, but contemporary Jews as well. Of course not everyone believes that and there are arguments that lay the execution of Jesus at the feet of the Romans. But either way, or some third or fourth way, we are left with the fact that someone went about preaching the Reign of God and healing and feeding and raising the dead and other crazy things and some powerful people found all this rather disruptive to their way of life. And rather than let their lives be disrupted with Good News, they chose to kill the central disruptive figure. And while this makes people angry, that someone would unwittingly kill the Messiah, I have to say: few are angry enough to follow Jesus in feeding and healing people. We're just going to keep on going our way, never realizing that we can keep Jesus alive, piously condemning someone else for killing Christ.
We're basically a lazy species. We so easily give into routine, inertia, and pointing out who is to blame, who is at fault, who is responsible. It's just plain inconvenient to change our ways. Call it human nature, call it sinful nature, but the truth of the matter is that the ones responsible for killing Christ and the ones responsible for the risks taken on Deepwater Horizon are the same people.
As Pogo Possum famously said: We have met the enemy and he is us.