Unless you are really good at avoiding society, then you know about the BP Oil Spill. All the major media outlets as well as Internet sites, blogs and social media networks are slamming watchers with BP’s horrendous failures in cleaning up the oil spill. Is it horrible? Yes, it is. However, I said little about it. Other than a mention via twitter here and a Facebook there, I didn’t have much of an opinion. I am not saying “BP should not clean up the oil spill”. We need to put the pressure on them to focus more on cleaning. However, I looked deeply at the matter, and I must say something unconventional here; boycotting is pretty pointless.
Now, before you think I’m misguided, read on because you might not know the full issue here. I like to compare BP to an iceberg; you’re only seeing the tip of it. Underneath the waters are a problem that most Americans are not aware of, mostly because of the misinformation out there. In order to boycott, you have to understand what that very word means.
According to Wikipedia, “A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons.”. If this is true, then you would have simply withheld from buying right? Wrong.
Do you think gasoline is the only thing that can be created from crude oil aka petroleum? Really? Chances are, you are using Petroleum based products, and you’re not even aware of it. Don’t believe me? Plastic is a petroleum-based product. I’m not talking just plastic bottles here. We are talking chairs, wires, desks, pens… even the VERY screen you are looking at. The monitor, the laptop, the phone you are using. Yes, it’s all made from plastic which raw material is petroleum. Need to learn more? Check How Stuff Works if you need to learn more…
Aside: PETA members, don’t you feel real stupid now? But y’all are another story for another day. I got chapters to write about that organization.
So, what exactly are we boycotting? To tell them to be more careful about how they are taking from the earth so that you can help destroy the earth for your benefit? That do not make a lot of sense. To stop spending money on PR and fit the oil problem? Yes, the money they are currently spending on Public Relations is a distraction, but it’s not from the oil spill. It’s from a simple truth: “We will take care of the oil spill, you people stay ignorant and inactive, okay?”
If boycotting is what you are promoting as the solution, it’s not a real solution. See, we have been hoodwinked way before you were born. While that’s a little extreme, let’s go back to the word “boycott”. It’s not a boycott, it’s “let’s see how long I can restrain myself from BP”, and trust me, eventually, BP will go back to the business as usual, and you will forget about it. You want to put pressure on BP? You talk about future solutions, while your mind is still focusing on the present oil spill problem. Americans have short term memories due to the media. I mean, Exxon Oil Spill only happened in 1989. Exxon is still in business, right?
Now, if you want a solution to this problem (and I mean a REAL solution) I can provide you with one possibility. I’ll tell you in my next post what it is… as well as why you’re NOT going to see it anytime soon (unless you take action NOW!)
In the meantime, try to guess what it is…
Update (4:42:27 PM): I noticed that I only talked about plastic in this example. So, I added a link to help you realize just how much we depend on crude oil beyond gasoline.