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Sucking Big Oil's Tit: We Are All Complicit in the World's Latest and Largest Oil Disaster

06/11/2010 12:28 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Our fate and the ocean's are one. The gleeful, defiant cheer "DRILL BABY, DRILL" has disappeared and those that boorishly barked it look like snails caught on a warm summer sidewalk. I once saw a cowboy movie that featured a hanging. Just like the aforementioned mob, the film mob screamed, "HANG 'EM! KILL 'EM! at the soon-to-be-lynched. When the man at the end of the rope drops, neck snapping and feet dancing, the bloodthirsty mob falls silent. The mob got what they asked for and now looks at the harsh reality of death. The Gulf of Mexico is at the end of the rope and is choking to death. We are the mob staring at the images of pelicans drowning in oil. We should also be filled with shame because we have not been rebellious in our need to get off the tit of big oil. So here's the deal, America: If you want to blame someone for this catastrophe, look in the mirror.

Our nation is the biggest consumer of oil on the planet. The oil spill in the Gulf is our collective fault. Period. Every animal that dies, every job that is lost, every beach that becomes tarred with clumps of smelly black crude oil is on our hands. We are all complicit because of our unwillingness to move away from, and curtail our addiction, to oil. So before we look for someone else to blame, before we start the lawsuits, have a good, long look in your rearview mirror, America. What do you see? Look around as you sit in your car, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic -- do you notice that there is one passenger in 80% of the cars? When you raise your bottled water to your lips, do you consider the carbon footprint the water bottle has made from distillery to your hand? Or that the plastic bottle is made from oil? If you're a supporter of motor sports you're extra guilty. Indy 500? NASCAR? Guilty. Motorcycle races? Monster truck races? Tractor pulls? Guilty. Internal combustion engines burn gasoline made from oil and that is why we turned away, turned a blind eye to, and complicity allowed companies like BP to "drill, baby drill" in a mile deep of water. Period.

The gas crisis warnings were written on the wall forty years ago. In the 1970s, we saw the first threats of our nation's addiction to oil. Drivers waited for hours to fill up their cars at gas stations. President Carter saw the need to wean our country off oil, particularly foreign oil, because foreign oil producers were holding our nation hostage. As a nation, we allowed ourselves to become oil slaves to OPEC. We stretched our necks all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, all the way to the Middle East, and we allowed oil-producing countries to charge whatever price they demanded for their product. Other countries must laugh openly when they hear us talk about the need to reduce global warming and carbon emissions because Americans produce more carbon per capita than any other country besides China. We are a nation of energy consuming hypocrites. Look in the mirror and say it's not so.

President Carter pleaded with the citizens of the United States to change our wasteful energy behavior. We didn't listen. We increased our usage and in so doing created the mess we are in today, drilling for oil at unsafe depths and fighting wars for oil. Our young service women and men are dying for our freedom to drive gas-guzzling automobiles, fly private jets and ride in Presidential motorcades. Along with the smelly oil, we have their blood on our hands. Lets look in the mirror, America.

This may be unpleasant for some of us Americans to hear -- like a smoker finding out he has lung cancer. This oil spill is going to last for months and have environmental repercussions for years to come. And now, as a species, we are going to face one of the greatest challenges in history. Our fate and the oceans are one and the world's oceans are in big trouble. They are more acidic than is sustainable for many forms of sea life. They are filled with human waste and garbage. They are polluted with toxic chemical runoff. They have been over-fished and they are warming at an alarming, terrifying speed. They are rising. The oceans are the biggest producer of oxygen on our planet and in almost every corner of the world they are sick. If you look at all the nearby planets that make up our solar system, you quickly notice the one essential thing that makes our home different from our neighbors'; they are our beautiful oceans. They are the great provider of life on earth. The oceans give us our atmosphere and create the clouds that carry rain to the land, which fills our lakes and rivers and streams. I'll say it again; our fate and the oceans are one.

There can be no more questions about ending our addiction to oil. We have to end it now. We have to act quickly to avoid complete devastation of life in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We have to act together and we have to act quickly. Every scientist, machinist, biologist, technician and creative thinker in the country needs to be employed to address the enormity and scope of this mess. What we are facing is what President Carter called the '70's the "moral equivalent of war." We have seen humans overcome great challenges, catastrophes and adversity. This is our moment; this is our voyage to the moon. Our challenge to find resolution for the many forms of life being threaten or killed, to find a way to stop the flow of oil, to collect and remove the oil form the Gulf before it escapes and is caught in the powerful Atlantic current which will carry it north. We have to act now.

This catastrophe is not a political issue or and issue of faith or commerce. There is no time to blame. This isn't the time to sue and punish those responsible. There is no time for that. When the house is on fire, you don't look for someone to blame. You put it out. We may be nearing the moment when the oceans can take no more and will die at the end of the rope that our collective human behavior created. Right now, our house is on fire and it must be put out before the whole neighborhood burns.

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