BP, the oil spill, and the urge to crucify…. somebody

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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is probably the biggest ecological disaster of all time. It’s probably also the biggest corporate PR 220px-Controlled_burn_of_oil_on_May_19thnightmare of all time.

Just last week one of my Roundtable members devoted his hot seat to strategizing a new viral marketing campaign propelled by BP outrage.

Millions of dollars will be made just by selling ways for people to vent their anger – NOT including lawsuits and finger pointing contests.

I rarely go very far off-topic in my business emails and blog posts…. but this is not off-topic. It’s everybody’s business; and not for the reasons you might think. Today I want to talk about a NON-obvious reason why this is everybody’s business.

The major news networks are covering this 24/7. As you witness footage of dying wildlife and mucked up beaches, you want to go strangle somebody.

I haven’t checked, but I bet some BP executives literally have had to hire security guards to protect themselves and their families from retaliation.

Blame and accusation is at an all-time high. Everybody who was even remotely involved in the catastrophe feels like a pariah.

Because: The #1 urge that ALL of us have is:

TO CRUCIFY SOMEBODY.

I choose the word “crucify” very deliberately. Everybody’s furious. We’re looking for scapegoat. A fall guy. Somebody to attach the blame to. A damsel to throw in the volcano.

Of course it’s totally understandable. It may take decades to clean this up. A lot of things have been permanently ruined. A lot of damage cannot be undone.

In any case, here’s what happens:

  • Politicians promise to find the person responsible and make them PAY. Everyone cheers: YES! YES! YES! Make them PAY!!!
  • All the companies and vendors involved vow to attach the blame to somebody else and absolve themselves of responsibility.
  • All the companies, vendors and individuals who worked for BP are judged as “evil”
  • Protesters urge the government to pass tougher environmental regulations so that nothing like this ever happens again.
  • People Boycott local gas stations that had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Shop owners can’t buy groceries. Employees are let go.
  • Competitive oil companies gloat over the fact that they are innocent and their rival gets to take the bullet
  • Politicians respond to the protesters promising to pass tougher laws and nail the ‘bad guys.’
  • Reporters, writers and camera crews do “investigative journalism,” chronicling the egregious irresponsibility of the oil rig crews and the failures to comply with safety regulations etc. etc. They craft dark foreboding accounts with melodramatic foreshadowing of all the sins that led up to the Gigantic Horrible Catastrophe. We’ll all be watching documentaries about this for years.
  • Every failed attempt to plug the hole is interpreted as more proof of the sinister motives of everybody involved.
  • Politicians do pass tougher regs – FAST. They cobble together new rules, ram them through committees and pass them into law. Now it takes 600 pages of paperwork just to unscrew a bolt on an oil rig. (It’s exactly like Sarbanes-Oxley, a US law that was passed after Enron collapsed. It’s a gigantic, humongous boondoggle, a colossal paperwork nightmare that mid- and large-sized companies have to contend with 24/7. It does almost nothing to actually improve the operation or integrity of their businesses. It just adds bureaucracy.)
  • The people who do finally plug the hole (after going weeks without sleep and making themselves sick just by being there) are in a lose-lose situation because even when they’re successful everybody’s still furious at them. Recalls veterans returning from the Vietnam war and having paint and urine thrown at them when they stepped off the plane.
  • Politicians who had almost nothing to do with the actual solution (other than showing up for a photo opportunity next to black seagulls and dead seals), take credit for what the slime-covered hole-pluggers actually did. And they extract more tax money via fines and levies.

Do you see how incredibly counterproductive the blame and accusation is?

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Remember this:

NOBODY intentionally created this. Nobody woke up one morning and wanted to blow up an oil rig. Nobody wanted their employees and contractors to die. Not on your life. Nobody wanted to kill tourism. Nobody wanted to suffocate birds and turtles. Nobody wanted to ruin the fishing in Louisiana.

And don’t forget this: ALL of us have, at some time in our life, created a disaster that other people had to clean up.

ALL of us have created messes that we could never clean up ourselves. Other people had to expend their time and money and blood, sweat and tears to fix the mistake we made.

ALL of us have felt the blame and accusation and condemnation – the GRATING SELF HATRED – that you experience when you’ve made a major screw-up.

Some of us went bankrupt and it cost other people and vendors hundreds of thousands of dollars. We were deeply ashamed of what we had done. We wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

Some of us made mistakes in our marriages and relationships. Some of us destroyed our families. Some of us injured spouses and children very deeply.

Some of us wrecked dad’s car and didn’t have two nickels to rub together to pay for it. Dad had to cancel the family vacation just to buy a used car.

Some of us squandered a college education that our parents paid for with all their savings.

Some of us squandered a college education that we ourselves are STILL paying for. Some of us took out $100,000 of student loans and have nothing but beer cans to show for it.

SO:

Don’t fix the blame. Fix the problem.

They made a giant mess. Now they have to clean it up. The best thing we can do is assist them as they do this dirty, ugly job.

Imagine this….

Imagine the BP senior manager who was in charge when the rig blew up – a guy who’s probably desperately wanted to jump off a building for weeks now – appears before a crowd of people and confesses his failure.

Imagine everyone responding:

“We know you didn’t do this on purpose. We forgive you. Let’s just roll up our sleeves and solve this thing once and for all.”

Suddenly, his mind freed from condemnation, an idea appears that he never thought of. It’s simple. It’s elegant. It’s inexpensive. It WORKS. The mess begins to dissolve.

And it sets a good precedent for all of us… because all of us make mistakes and all of us have deep regrets. ALL of us need grace.

I would like to suggest that the best thing we can do is to choose to deliberately adopt a spirit of forgiveness to the people who made this huge MISTAKE. I propose that we recognize that nobody at BP or any of their vendors was out to screw up the world.

They were doing what all of us do – they got up every morning and tried to do the best they could at their job, and to make the most of what they’d been given.

I know it’s totally counter-intuitive, but the most powerful, creative, life-giving thing we can bring to this situation is to choose to be graceful instead of pouring out contempt and condemnation.

Live by grace, die with grace.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Which way do you want it?

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

41 Comments on “BP, the oil spill, and the urge to crucify…. somebody”

  1. Great article, Perry! It’s nice to read a different angle on the BP disaster. I find it interesting how BP’s advertising budget tripled in the three months following the explosion.

    Business Week had a really good article about this.

  2. Well, Perry, now that the govt has outlawed media coverage, BP has refused to use bioremediation, only uses Connexit (which the EPA told them not to use and which makes the problem worse-and which they manufacture
    and sell, by the way) it is clear that this is not just an accident.

    It is a deliberate act of war against the American people if not all free people everywhere. These people do not think like you and I. They are possessed.

  3. “This is just like Atlas Shrugged.”

    Patrick: You’re observation is astutely accurate.

    “…there was only a void of darkness and rock, but the darkness was hiding the ruins of a continent: the roofless homes, the rusting tractors, the lightless streets, the abandon rail.”

    “But far in the distance, on the edge of the earth, the defiantly stubborn flame of Wyatt’s torch, twisting, being torn and regaining its hold, waiting…”

  4. Quick to forgive,

    My teacher used to tell me,”a principle is not a principle unless it costs you money!”

    I am cynical because “the powers that be” cannot allow big oil to actually suffer, its bad for business. 5 judges had to excuse themselves from pending BP cases, because they own related stock (Who doesn’t fill up with gas?).

    Anyone who foolishly takes on big oil will find themselves living a real life version of “The Insider” or out of public office. Most of us are not willing to risk family and career on principle.

    The system will not allow anyone to stop business as usual…no matter how many dead animals wash up on the beach.

    Here’s a question.
    “Would you buy BP stock right now?.”
    If BP’s stock remains down, the shareholders will demand change? Sorry to pop your bubble

    Unfortunately the amount of lost money is the equivalent of a “speeding ticket” for BP. Including settlements and projected cleanup costs and temporary stock devaluation (That’s scary).

    When’s the last time a speeder changed his behavior?. BP is too big. The penalty will NEVER match the crime, so nothing will change.

    Unfortunately thats why it’s always easier to find a scapegoat-a sane human being should get angry at this, but the underlying system that runs all this will remain the same.

    Searchengineman

  5. Perry,

    This is a very thought-provoking article indeed.

    One just has to nod their head in disappointment at the “my rear is covered” mentality that is so rampant these days.

    It’s so ingrained in our society that almost no one looks in the mirror and points the finger at the individual looking back in that mirror.

    Like you said, we’ve all made our fair share of mistakes.

    One can only hope and pray that through continued dialog such as this and education that one day this will be a thing of the past; that people will own up to things so that we can all move forward much wiser for the mutual experience after having collectively resolving the resulting negative consequences.

    Lastly, all of this just illustrates the need to pursue and implement clean alternative energy production technologies that aren’t harmful to our environment; because if we do end up destroying our environment, what will be left behind for our descendants?

    All the business success and money in the world won’t do a bit of good if it goes that far.

    Warmest Regards and Best Wishes,

    Felix J Torres
    Free Life Insurance Quotes and Information

  6. Ive just got back from holiday and seen this crap!

    PERRY, HAVE YOU BEEN IMMERSING YOU OWN HEAD IN CRUDE OIL FOR THE LAST MONTH?

    Goldman Sachs Sold 44% of its BP stock only a few weeks ago.

    This is about as much of an ‘accident’ as the South Korean ship was hit by a non-German torpedo.

    The b*stards who have taken over your country have destroyed your spirit, your culture, your economy, any chance of lasting peace in the world for the foreseeable future, and now its the environment.

    They want to DESTROY…DESTROY …DESTROY. So they can create order out of “chaos”. Thats all they do.

    “NOBODY intentionally created this”

    Yer right… I would say:

    “you might like to by some seafront property?”

    But I’ll give that one a miss on this occasion

    Peace :)

  7. Great article Perry.

    It isn’t about not learning or not caring – its about an ever more difficult task to extract more and more difficult oil reserves. BP invests heavily in unconventional projects so they are a great target.

    A lot of people who I was at University with when I took my first degree were in oil exploration so I’ve tended to keep up to speed on things. A lot of what this is about is the trade off between risk and attainment. People need risk-takers to move forward, but can always analyse in retrospect why they knew better than the guys actually taking the risks.

    America (and Britain) both have a demand for secure, domestically produced oil which requires drilling in ever more inhospitable, dangerous and environmentally sensitive areas that test the boundaries of what can be done. BP have a lot of experience operating far up the challenging end of the curve (think of the incredibly hostile conditions in the North Sea and then again developing and accessing the resources in Sakhalin-2 in Siberia.

    I think that those who want to crucify the technologists love to see risk takers fail as well as the politicos who see this as a way of shifting blame away from their own regulatory bodies, incurring a recognisably ‘foreign’ baddie (which takes peoples worries away from any internal problems) and of course like Sakhalin-2, getting a chance to seize control of an asset that someone else has developed with their own time and investments.

    Sure BP should be budgeting to quickly and efficiently, have a detailed plan for environmental clean up – but anyone who thinks the risks are unacceptable needs to stop using oil, oil products and oil generated electricity and services.

  8. Hi Perry!

    While I have a ways to go on resolving this in both my heart & mind, I do so applaud you’re willingness to have a rational discussion on such a deeply disturbing travesty unfolding before us for years to come…

    Thank you for your efforts in this arena.

    Keep up the good work!

    Teresa

  9. Hi Perry,

    Good article, as always.

    FYI: Down Under, 125 miles off the coast of Western Australia (where I live), we had a similar problem last year with an oil well that sprang a “leak” and spewed millions of liters of oil into the Timor Sea.

    (see full article quotes below were taken from)–> http://bit.ly/1vK8IA

    “Scientists said that the disaster could rival the Exxon Valdez catastrophe”

    “The Montara rig, operated by PTTEP Australasia, ruptured on August 21. Environmentalists expressed concern for marine and bird life but, because it is so far off-shore, details of the damage done have remained vague.”

    “Gilly Llewellyn, who led a WWF team on a three-day survey of the slick, told The Times: “We were in an area that is teeming with marine life and we literally found ourselves in a sea of oil that reached as far as we could see. It was sickening, because we were seeing dolphins surfacing in the oil and birds feeding in it.”

    “PTTEP estimates that between 300 and 400 barrels of oil a day is pouring into the ocean, but the Australian Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism said on Thursday that it could be as much as 2,000 barrels a day.Conservationists estimate that the oil is covering an area of at least 5,800 square miles (15,000sq km).”

    “Dr Llewellyn said: “If this was closer to shore there would be global outrage. We are not seeing large amounts of birds dying but this will have a serious long-term impact.”

    “Effects of the Exxon Valdez disaster are still being seen 20 years later, so we can expect that this environmental disaster will continue to unfold for years to come.”

    It took weeks (or months, I forget?) to stop the spill and the environmental damage is considerable (although being 125 miles off the coast, it wasn’t a total disaster for the coastal area like in Louisiana).

    Strange how 2 similar events happened so quickly. You’d think BP (and others) would have learned from this… Who/what next? Perhaps a bit too optimistic a thought on my behalf…

    BTW, if you live outside Australia, did you ever hear about this in the media? I suspect lots of countries didn’t.

  10. Hi Perry,

    I’m British, reference you extensively, and that damned company company is or was British Petroleum. Yes I’m very much going down the crucifixion route.

    The reason was not because the incident just happened. It was not an accident. It will be criminal negligence. It is because British Petroleum and Halliburton completely ignored at least 5 vital health and safety steps, alarms were broken, the well casing had failed inspection a year ago, and the blow out preventer’s actuator batteries were flat. Rig engineers opinions prior to the event were that this was going to happen.

    So to say no-one wanted it to happen is to fail to convey the gravity of what has happened. Actually no-one in BP or Halliburton or the Deep Ocean owners really cared enough that anything might happen because profit was the only driver here. It’s the same as drugs smuggling and casino bankers. No-one cares about the flotsam of life that gets in their way either.

    I am incandescent over it, the British population know this was not an accident, and it is in main part a British company, and I am ashamed to be British.

    Just so’s you know on that score.

    Chris

    1. Chris,

      Thanks for your point of view. I have not studied this closely and you could be right on any number of points. I respect what you are saying.

      I would like to suggest that even if they were criminally negligent and even if you yourself were involved in the prosecution process, at some point it’s still very helpful to you personally to emotionally unhook yourself from it, set your anger aside, forgive the criminals within your own heart, and follow a logical due process of law. BP has made millions of sea creatures sick but you don’t have to let them make you sick too.

      1. +1 from me re: “it was not an accident – it will be criminal negligence.”

        It’s hard to forgive executives who are still insisting that everything’s fine and that there are not giant barely-visible plumes of oil below the water’s surface, etc.

        BP’s CEO even had the nerve to tell suffering Gulf residents that he would like his life back!

        I don’t know how I’m going to be able to forgive this particular type of oblivious scum, but you’re right, Perry. I’m going to try. “BP has made millions of sea creatures sick but you don’t have to let them make you sick too.”

        Thankfully, the U.S. Justice Department has just opened criminal AND civil investigations.

  11. I don’t watch the news, I don’t have a television, because I’m too busy building a website to teach people how to have manners, like thanking the special people who touch our lives. And forgiving people who make mistakes or are involved in accidents can be tough, but it is the gentleman’s way, the noble and courageous thing to do. And it’s what our leaders should be doing. And even if they don’t, yes Perry, I agree, we can!

    I do have a radio, and listen a little to the news.

    About a month ago I told my Dad and my sister and her husband how wrong it is for Congress to try to raise the limits of payment on the oil companies “retro-actively. I gave the example if your house burned down and now all your neighbors sued you for the damages to their houses, how would you feel if in the first place it was an accident for cry’in out loud.

    Now if it was on purpose or willfully negligent or act of terrorist, maybe a little different story…

    But becoming part of the solution instead of the problem is what being an entrepreneur is all about.

    Years ago my Dad told me a story he saw at a big road construction site. A new bull dozer driver went up a hill too steep and rolled the dozer. Everyone expected the boss to be angry and fire the driver, but he quietly called in the equipment to get things back in order and within a few hours of lost time, everyone was back at their post.

    One foreman asked the boss, aren’t you going to do anything about the driver. The boss simply said, “He’ll never do that again.”

    It comes with maturity, I guess, but it also is about the bottom line. That kind of boss doesn’t have to pay for re-hiring, re-training, hard feelings. And talk about loyalty, who wouldn’t want to work for a boss like that?

    After all, I’d say accidents can get you experience real fast. It’s a tough test, but here’s to hoping level heads prevail.

    BTW, what if there was this big contest to see who in America or the world could find the way to plug the leak? Maybe some geeky kid or a team of scientists. Maybe the product of free enterpise or even God answering a group of people who get down on their knees and ask for guidance. And while they’re at it, ask for help for the people involved.

    1. Hi Paul,

      I’m from the UK and just written a pretty strong comment about this that might or might not get published.

      Picking up your your point I hope I would be like that boss. The junior didn’t know, and now he does. The theme here is of course is forgiveness, learn from your errors, and move on.

      The trouble with the highly experiences oil company that still bears the British name is not just a failure to learn from their errors, but seemingly not to care much either.

      Anyway, back to getting another PPC quote out.

      Chris

  12. A voice of reason in a time when all want their pound of flesh. I agree with Stephen that a backup valve would be something that should have been obvious in hindsight.

    We humans, for the most part, are creatures that must learn from our mistakes. I have only to point to the elaborate systems now being incorporated into businesses to ensure the company will survive should a disaster hit. These systems were often disregarded prior to 911 as being too expensive. Only once the cost of not being prepared was known did they gain popularity.

    The time to rant and rave is before something goes wrong. Once it does, the focus needs to be on mitigating the damage, and understanding what can be done in the way of prevention in the future. One can only hope that the lessons learned will give pause and greater scrutiny in the future.

  13. “The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” — Portia, The Merchant of Venice

    Bless you, Perry, for such noble forgiveness. Although I agree this mess was unintentional, recent news printed in the Washington Post indicates BP may have taken some construction short cuts in order to save money when drilling fell behind schedule. If this is true, these were terrible decisions. Some sort of investigation will have to come of this, and maybe some legislation too (wise legislation, I hope).

  14. Wow, you honestly believe that “NOBODY intentionally created this. Nobody woke up one morning and wanted to blow up an oil rig…”??? I love the spirit behind what you wrote – and I don’t want to sound like a jerk – but I have a hard time totally dismissing the possibility that this may have been intentional. I honestly hope that you are right.

    1. Perry: of the 100’s of piece I’ve read thus far on the spill, I’ve enjoyed yours the most, and found it the most helpful — just told my roughly 1000 FaceBook friends to read it.

      Dr. George: there’s bound to be one ‘tin-foil hat’ wearer in every crowd. Sorry you seem to be that guy here, and that you wake up every morning wondering why your glass is half empty. I feel for you, I really do. What a sad way to go through life.

    2. I love your emails Perry, but in this case you are naive. It’s hard for me to feel sorry for BP when the exact same thing happened 31 years ago, and they learned nothing…..WHY, because Americans go on to the next news event and forget..NO ONE is help responsible. I can bet that NO ONE will be fired for this. Thousands will lose their liveihood but BP will still go on without a hiccup.
      Namaste, S

  15. I was having a similar conversation with my mom the other day. She was shaking her head in anger at the oil companies, about how evil they were.

    My response was, “This is just like Atlas Shrugged.” (the novel by Ayn Rand, which she and I have both read)

    The people who make this world RUN – literally provide the fuel for all of us – are lampooned and denigrated as reprehensible elements of society acting on selfish motivation.

    But what if they STOPPED? What if they said, one day, “Screw you all. We’ve made enough money and we’ve taken enough of your crap. We’re not drilling another inch, we’re not pumping another barrel. No more oil for anyone. The end.”
    And then they walked away.

    You think this oil spill is bad? We had all better hope that this thing doesn’t drive any oil companies out of business. That is when the truly cataclysmic disaster will start.

  16. Look, people for the last month have been ‘rolling up their sleeves’ as you suggest and laying out miles of whatever they put out there in these situations.

    None of it means anything because these companies don’t really care.

    We are all in internet marketing (or want to be,) we know the value of ‘systems’, formulas that Large MultiNational Enterprises follow right down to your neigborhood ‘Subway’ franchise!

    Everything is controlled in our society except to make sure a back up valve is installed on a pipe a mile down in the ocean!

    I have never been very religious, but I have to say that lately I hope there is a God that will intervene in man’s affairs, we are too far gone! (The ‘we’ refers to anyone in Gov or the Corporate ‘Clergy class’.) The term ‘God help us’ has never been more appropriate.

    Grace? Sure, for the animals and people who’s lives are ruined. BP C-levels should be put in the same cell with Madoff and their children forced to live off minimum wage for the next 5 generations.

    I live in Canada, all the talk now is about the G-8 meeting in a little town outside Ottawa. The cost? A BILLION Dollars! To discuss things they’ve already decided upon. These people haven’t heard of ‘webinars’? Corruption is rampant!

    They didn’t mean to do it? When you don’t take the proper precautions, then yes, you do mean to do it.

    Nice thought though, Perry, I know what you are trying to say but thousands of people down in the gulf have heard you!

    A bunch of high paid morons!

    Drill, baby drill!

    Sorry for the rant, If I lived a few centuries ago in Nottingham, I would have been one of the ‘merry men’!

  17. Perry, you are so right. This reminds me of an old saying about accomplishment that goes something along the lines of “We can accomplish anything if nobody worries about who gets the credit”

    Perhaps that’s the key to stopping the oil – don’t worry about who is to blame or who will get the credit. Just pull together and get it done.

  18. Perry, You realize you have the power and the clout to begin a movement. Your words, thoughts and feelings do carry weight because people pay attention to your respected point of view. In the same way that followers of the Dalai Lama heed his words, you can effect change in thinking. I’m not inferring that you’re the Dalai Lama, but the same spirit is within you.

    What your blog says to me is that the world needs healing, at all levels. Even if the oil blowout was caused by greed, by political expediency or plain stupidity is no longer the point. When a critically injured is taken to the Emergency Department, the medical people don’t ask, “Whose fault is this?” They ask, “How do we save this person?”

    You speak of forgiveness. That is one of the most difficult actions that a human being faces. On a personal level, if one does not forgive, one cannot heal. As a healer, I see how it ravages the body physically as well as emotionally. When forgiveness begins, then healing begins.

    If enough like-minded people agree to forgive, it will permeate society, throughout the world, and create change.

    I have spent much of my professional life as a hard-nose “investigative” journalist in mainstream media. If it wasn’t negative, it wasn’t news. I covered the oil industry, and many oil and gas blowouts. They are devastating. I spend more of my time these days healing people, and also sending energy to good ‘ol Mother Earth. She is in Critical Condition.

    Thank you for your thoughts. Let’s all send good wishes!

    1. One of my friends saw this and texted me. She says, “It’s not every day one gets compared to the Dalai Lama.”

      I said, Well, it’s the first time for me. Thank you. And hey…. if Bono can be more than just a rock star, then who says all of us can’t be more than just a [name of profession]?

  19. The human race culture as a whole has a finger pointing ‘pass the book’ attitude and it is encouraged in the human race we have developed together.

    Notice I say ‘WE’ because we are ‘ALL’ to blame. This can be seen on a bare-naked-primeval scenario in most office businesses.

    Something goes ‘tits-up’ and he or she points the finger at you, you say well..

    ‘Ive got my ass-covered because I’ve followed the red tape guidelines (even though I don’t agree with them just to be able to pass-the-book)’

    This is unfortunatley our mentalaitity as a human race.

    IF – we were not dependant on the oil BP were drilling for, then this MAYBE would not have happened.

    IF – we conserved a little more energy and recycled as much as we can, then this MAYBE would not have happened.

    IF- we all said “I’m not a sheep – I can make a decision myslef on what is right and what is wrong” then this disaster MAYBE might not have happened.

    We are ALL responsible!

    We ALL buy the oil. We create the demand.

    I think I must have drank too much coffee to rant like this however, these are my thoughts.

    A good post Perry, it involves everyone.

  20. Let’s keep it simple. Simple fixes are always the best. Here’s my idea to fix the oil gusher in 140 character format so it can be Tweeted and Retweeted.

    “Oil spill: Attach a manifold with multiple hoses attached which lead to tankers. Clamp to gushing pipe. Valves in man. can close, cap leak.”

    I will be starting a blog for people to post their ideas for capping the leak. It will be called “Your ideas to fix the oil spill (leak) blog”. Let’s all pull together to find solutions to the problem and not play the blame game while the environment suffers. There will be time for that after we find the solution. After all, we are Americans and there is nothing we cannot do when we work together for good.

  21. I have lived in South Louisiana for all my adult life. So much of our economy here is tied – directly and indirectly – to the oil industry. The other big industry here is tourism. We will see both suffer as a result of this disaster and as you astutely pointed out the suffering will be intensified by the impending stiffened regulations.

    One of the major complaints I hear daily is the lack of transparency that BP is showing. But when I see, hear or read any BP comment, I know it has been filtered through their legal department. As much as they are trying to deal this the spill they are equally focused on the impending legal battles.

    I have seen the influx of attorneys lining up to get on the gravy train.

    With all that said, we surely could use a common sense approach like you have proposed. Will it happen? Unfortunately no. There are too many people looking out for their own selfish interest.

    I would much prefer a sensible approach based on grace and forgiveness. Again I am afraid our society has become too self-absorbed. WIIFM is ruling our world.

  22. Perry,

    Thanks for the great article, hopefully the ‘blamers and angry people’ will read this and see things in a different light. This is definitely having a negative impact on the globe and human consciousness. I wish I knew how to stop the oil gushing, it makes me want to cry not blame or get angry. The eco system is damaged in a major way. I don’t want to crucify anyone, I just want the mess cleaned up as quickly as possible.

  23. My mom (and brother subsequently) worked for BP for 25 plus years in Research and Finance respectively…I worked there during summers in college separating catalyst particles for petroleum products…exciting stuff!

    Seriously…though..It is safe to say and too much of an exaggeration to say that BP put me through college..

    My mom has expressed her complete heartache at seeing wildlife covered in oil..its a horrible tragedy…a major dis-connect as it (BP) was a great place to spend her career…

    In fact, she has to go there Naperville offices tomorrow as she is a retired volunteer for many of the charitable causes they support

    Irony continues to express..

    Man’s relationship to nature itself and what we do to get what we need/want from it are what comes up for me..-an age old question forcing itself to be
    asked through disaster/tragedy..

    You are so right Grace, Forgiveness and resourcesulness to manage this disaster are whats very much needed now..

    Asking the Big questions..transforming our relationship to nature and how we think about it to one of respect and appreciation could be one silver lining here..

  24. Great concept – when this is over, responsible investigation and analysis will almost certainly show that there was some mix of human error and science/technical weaknesses that need improvement. The right response will be a combination of regulation, better management practices and engineering improvements to minimize the risk of future spills and improvements to processes for responding to spills.

    Until then, most of the commentary is just emotional venting born out of frustration and/or politicians wanting to get on camera. Normal but not productive.

    Without meaning defend or justify this tragedy, the oil industry has drilled over 65,000 offshore wells without incident – this is an extreme long tail event. Rational recognition of that track record makes it clear why the current responses seem ad hoc – the industry simply had no data to support having elaborate predetermined response plans.

  25. I agree with everything you say here Perry, but can you imagine the main stream news services running with this particular angle. No they are not going to do it which is a shame because the sooner the majority of us, the Earth’s population that is, adopt this attitude then the sooner we all start living in the harmonious way we are meant to live.

    I firmly believe that in order to solve problems we must focus on the desired outcome rather than focus on the problem itself.

    Lets not think disaster let’s think regeneration.

  26. Thank you Perry for shedding some intelligent insight into this total debacle of a situation. I believe that some of the people who are involved really don’t care about what happens as long as the $billions keep flowing in. I also agree with you that MOST of the people involved DO care and only want to do their best at their jobs.

    But I agree 100% that NO ONE sat behind a desk in a private office and thought up a way to screw this whole thing up or planned to ruin the planet!

    So, hey guys! Let’s all pitch in with our SUPPORT and find a way to minimize the tragedy instead of all the finger pointing and lynching. Whatta ya say?

    1. I don’t advocate literal crucifixion for these bozos, but ending some corporate careers is exactly in line. These guys pushed the envelope of the absolute minimum safety they could get away with to save money when the risks were staggeringly large.

      Tighter regulation is exactly in line. For starters, we could start requiring the backup systems that are already in use in most other countries.

  27. Absolutely right, Perry! I’m with you 100%.

    I hate it when the media devours things such as this like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat!

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