Obama’s Oval Office address on the BP Oil Spill was amazing dissapointing.

The phrase, “This is the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States” is buried under weak defenses and excuses for spending millions cleaning up a disaster that doesn’t just reflect a completely corrupt energy policy but also a national crisis in lifestyle.  I’m sorry, but putting a six month moratoriam on deepwater drilling (with the exception, or course, of the unexplained “relief well” that BP is currently drilling to stop the leak) means jack shit to me.  It’s time to talk about what this spill actually means, and how the sheen of oil on the gulf reflects back to each and every one of our lives and daily choices.

Addressing the “failed philosophy” that oil companies can write their own regulations is clearly important (the idea that any industry can be it’s own regulator is a failure to begin with), but how about the “failed philosophy” that US citizens can burn as much oil as they want, whether it’s in their SUVs or heating or plastic food packaging?

Maybe I am just an economic skeptic in general, but I fail to see how ensuring that BP pays for all the cleanup and creating a third-party managed fund will sufficiently reverse the damage of 60,000 barrels of oil a day leaking into our oceans for months.  That is not an economic disaster.  Nor is it an environmental disaster.  It is a LIFE disaster, one that we should be addressing not just economically and environmentally but with changes in our LIVES!!!

Nicaraguans know disasters.  They know catastrophes.  When Hurricane Mitch came through over 800,000 Nicaraguans lost their lives and land, cattle and immeasurable amounts of wildlife were lost, and all told estimated damages total over US$300 million.  I still talk to farmers who have never recuperated their land, who show me rivers that have changed their course completely, and boulders on their land that weren’t there before.  After a hurricane, where is the private company to blame, to force to pay damages?  That is the most shamefull, unspoken truth about this environmental catastrophe.  We have made this disaster.  We have something to blame, but it’s not just an oil company, it’s ourselves.

That’s why in addition to addressing the dire situation of tribal fisherman and endangered pelegrine flocks we should be making widesweeping changes in our daily lives.  If Obama really wants to promote hope and change he should be talking about about movements like the statewide ban on plastic bags and successfull local food movements that greatly reduce food miles and plastic food packaging.  Plastic and oil are not evil – they have their medical, safety, and technology uses that have become indespensiple to our society.  But at the risk of destroying ourselves completely, why can we not make every effort to cut out the waste!

Is it too much to ask that our political and economic leaders can dip into morals and ethics as well?  We DO need to rewire our countries energy system so that it is connected to renewable sources of energy, but we also need to rewire ourselves, so that we think twice before carelessly throwing out over 1,675 lbs of garbage per year per person!  And that doesn’t count the barrels of oil that each of us are responsible for wasting daily.  We do need the commitees to look into the lies and conflicts of interest that led to the BP disaster, but we also need to realize that our current petroleum centered lifestyle is itself a lie and a conflict of interest.