Monday, April 25, 2005

Are you aware it’s ecologically responsible to drill oil in Alaska?

The world has many ecosystems. The Arabian desert is an ecosystem. The South Caribbean is an ecosystem. The west African jungle is an ecosystem. Each of the countries where 80% of the world’s oil comes from: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Algeria, Nigeria, Libya, Venezuela, each one is made up of ecosystems, and each ecosystem is protected (or not) by those countries, though means they control. The Alaskan tundra is an ecosystem as well, protected by our own Environmental Protection Agency.

Assume for the moment that our EPA does a better job regulating industry’s impact on local ecosystems than the comparable regulatory agencies of those other countries (if they even have something like the EPA at all). Now assume that for at least the near future we are going to consume more oil than we currently produce (which is a fact). That means every barrel of oil we don’t take from our own land, under our own system of regulations and oversight, we get from somewhere else, by whatever way they choose to get it, with whatever effect that has.

When people talk about ‘taking responsibility’, they invariably talk about making the choices and overseeing the process. When they talk about ‘delegating responsibility’, they invariably talk about shifting control of the process to someone else.

So then, there's the question: If you have to get oil from somewhere, and you can either get it according to your own standards, or someone else’s, and your standards are higher, which is the more ecologically responsible choice?

It’s an old proverb, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’

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