As devastating pictures of sullied waters, ruined beaches and oil-drenched wildlife continue to inundate our television and computer screens; as the idea sinks in that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastation is not over, and will not be over next week, or next month, or next year, or this decade, not even if some new feat of technological acrobatics finally succeeds in fully stopping the still-flowing leak; as we realize that the damage from this unprecedented ecological disaster may well permanently alter not only the vital ocean and wetland ecosystems of the Gulf, but also the lives of millions of people who depend, in one way or another, upon those ecosystems for their livelihoods and lifestyle, here at MOMocrats, we ask ourselves: where do we go from here?
BP's deliberate, mindful neglect of safety procedures in the name of speed and profit appears to have been the most immediate cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The federal government's lax enforcement of its own oil drilling regulations allowed BP to get away with such negligence, on a far too regular basis, for far too long. When it comes to casting blame in this crisis, there are real people we can point our fingers at, people we, the victims of this disaster, can accuse by name, who committed real and terrible mistakes in their reckless desire to profit from our nation's hunger for oil. And those people should be punished for their selfish negligence.
The Gulf oil leak is not just BP's disaster, or Transocean's, or Halliburton's, or the Minerals Management Service's, or the Bush Administration's, or the Obama administration's disaster. It is your disaster. It is my disaster. It is every American's disaster.
Everyone who has ever driven a car or lived in a home with vinyl siding or PVC pipe, everyone who has used single unrecycled plastic bottle or bought food that was shipped in a diesel truck, has personally purchased a piece of our oil dependence.
Everyone who has failed to vote, failed to call a congressperson to lobby for environmental protection reforms, failed in to form themselves of pending environmental or green energy legislation because it was easier to read a sports magazine or watch a comedy show on TV, bears some shred of responsibility, however small, for the sordid state of regulatory affairs that shrouded BP's blatant negligence from public view until it was too late.
And now that all of America is faced with very visible consequences, those of us who do want to make a difference, those who do mean it when we look at the ruined Gulf coast and say,"Never again," must seize what tattered silver lining we can reach, and ask ourselves, what can we do differently? What have we learned from this? Where do we go from here?
How do we protect our environment without stalling our economy?
How do we change our lifestyles without upending our families?
How do we convince our leaders to protect the lands and waters that are the source of our nation's wealth before it's too late?
Over the course of the next several days, several MOMocrats writers will post our personal thoughts on these questions, and more, in a series we're calling, Where Do We Go from Here?
If you would like to add your voice to our discussion on how to solve the deeper problems behind the Gulf oil disaster, please leave a link to your own post in our comment section. We'll feature our favorites in an upcoming wrap-up post.