Everyone's pissed at British Petroleum. It's ok, you're allowed. Just don't dwell too long in scapegoatism, because the end result is never satisfying.
Yes, BP was wrong for not having contingency plans in place for equipment that wasn't designed to dig that deep. But we're wrong because we've been too slow to transition away from petroleum dependency. And it's more than just the oil refined to put gas in your car – check this partial list of items created using petroleum. One of the best resources I've found that talks about oil, is a EIA Energy Kids. That's right, a kid's site. Check it out.
But this isn't about scapegoatism, or how much petroleum we use in America. This post is about the golden opportunity that BP has before them. Eventually we have to believe that the oil is going to all wash ashore, or evaporate, or something else – I don't know, I'm not a scientist. But we have to believe that it will go away and the fish will come back and livelihoods of people will return and history will point back to this disaster as the beginning of a great migration away from oil-based products and toward something cleaner. And you know what? BP can lead the charge. Hell, they've used the pseudo-acronym 'Beyond Petroleum' for a few years now, though after how BP has handled the PR for this disaster, the 'Beyond Petroleum' claim sounds like total advertising bullshit – nothing more.
But now, they have the opportunity to make good on their claim by directly investing in the damaged areas of the US Gulf coast. By putting people to work on new energy projects. By building whole towns based on new energy. By helping clean the water so that sea life comes back and seafood is safe to consume. By modifying all their existing oil rigs, and leading legislation to ensure that all rigs everywhere (regardless of ownership) are safe for our ecosystem. By being a leader in new energy. By showing us the way. By becoming their mantra.
Dear BP – accept that you're going to be scapegoated, and plow forward anyway. But with a mission of doing good, not just turning a profit. You're the fifth largest company on the planet. This is your chance to show the world that people and companies can live harmoniously together. Please, BP, commit to doing great things with this opportunity.