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Taking a reflective look in oil-stained waters

Here’s a story we’re keeping front and centre at Citizen Capitalism: follow-ups from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Our post today ponders the question, how would you like to be Bob Dudley, the corporation’s recently appointed CEO?  At least he wasn’t the guy running the company when the Gulf blowout happened last summer, though he was the one leading the on-the-ground response. For his efforts, he was rewarded with the top job when Tony Hayward experienced his own blowout.

Not long ago, Mr. Dudley was speaking at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London, and there were a few nuggets from his speech that demand sharing with you. This speech happened to coincide with the accusation that Haliburton staff knew that the concrete being used in the well was inherently unstable. So it’s easy to continue to vilify BP, Haliburton, and others involved, but Mr. Dudley decries that as an unreasonable and unfair rush to judgment.

“We were certainly not perfect in our response, but we have tried to do the right thing”.

OK, you can decide for yourself whether they have or they haven’t, but his next comment is the scary one. He argued that deepwater drilling is necessary, despite the dangers. He cited predictions (I’m sorry, I don’t know his sources) that the world could be consuming 40% more energy than today by 2030. That’s worth repeating. The world could increase energy consumption by 40% in the next 19 years! That’s the kind of explosive growth that will result in no small part from the explosion of middle class consumption habits in China and India. They will behave increasingly like us, so let’s not get too smug.

A theme you’ll begin to discover here at our humble home on the net is the view that, while government and technological innovation are critical to avoiding the further degradation of the planet, there’s an equally important and much more immediate action that can be taken — by each of us as individuals.  Cut down. On packaging. On driving. On anything that uses fossil fuels, directly or indirectly.

If all of us in the developed world thought about this every time we did something, we bet we could each cut our personal energy consumption by 5% without noticing any change in our lives. Oh, and it’ll probably save us money too.

Companies like BP, it can be argued, are doing whatever they have to in order to meet the demand that we continue to create. And while there will always be corporate misbehaviour, their mission is an honourable one. It’s up to us, with our actions day-to-day, to change that mission.

Our question for today:

If you’ve made changes in your life that fit with this theme, please share them with everybody here.

Write to us at:, subject line: changes.

Catagory: Articles



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