BP Oil Disaster: Time to Redefine Sustainability.

May 11 2010 - 10:49 AM

Fish-on-shore-oil-spill Comfort food along the gulf is turbot, grouper, fried shrimp. Catfish. Turtle soup. Without getting into all the different types of fish, you begin to get the idea. We can talk about sustainability all we want but that conversation needs to move beyond sustainable fishing. We work hard to ferret out the good sources for fish  (the Greenpeace Supermarket Seafood Scorecard for one) but that is completely wasted effort if we don't understand and demand change in all industries. Off shore drilling may be done in a responsible way but BP was not responsible about it. When another industry can virtually wipe out fishing in a region by wiping out all forms of life, edible or not, foodies better get wise.

The reality of this particular situation is that we need to reassess our risk index. Regardless of liability, if BP, or anyone else, is doing something in such scale as to risk such catastrophe, it should frankly be illegal. There is no regulation, nor insurance, nor business practice that can mitigate events like the one which is happening right now.

There is no logical reason not to shift from giant rigging systems, or reactors for that matter, to smaller clusters of systems that accomplish the same thing. One could argue that an infrastructure to support those systems would be cost-prohibitive but the response should smartly be that 1. given current circumstances the cost difference is negligible and 2. simply put, something large enough to assume these risks is fundamentally irresponsible – read illegal. 

We need better government protection from corporate irresponsibility, whether that means regulation or enforcement and penalty. Without a catastrophic penalty the corporate risk-assessments will be skewed in favor of this happening again exactly the same way.

(pic from treehugger.com)