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BP’s CEO – Does he grasp severity of accident?

On May 10, 2010, British Petroleum’s Chief Executive Officer, Tony Hayward, was interviewed by Michele Norris on NPR’s All Things Considered concerning the failed attempt to cap the broken oil rig on May 8th and 9th. (listen to the interview)
The part that most disturbed me about this interview was Dr. Hayward’s comparison of this accident to the Apollo 13 mission, and the Air France Flight AF447 which crashed in the ocean last June. Here is a transcript from part of the interview:
NORRIS: Mr. Hayward, this is the deepest well blowout on record. And the people are most knowledgeable in dealing with deep water wells are at the outer edge of their expertise, even when things are going well. The Coast Guard and oil industry analysts say that drilling here is almost like visiting outer space. It’s like a great unknown. So why are you drilling there if there’s so much that is not known about this territory?Dr. HAYWARD: Well, we’re drilling because it’s a very important source of energy for the United States and the world. That is the reality. Almost 30 percent of the United States oil production today comes from the deep waters. That is where there is the opportunity to provide domestic energy security. That is where there is an opportunity to provide energy security for the world. And, of course, oil isnt all of the solution but it’s a part of the solution.

NORRIS: That opportunity obviously comes, though, with great peril. Is deepwater drilling riskier than BP believed?

Dr. HAYWARD: I think you have to go back to, you know, the track record of the industry and BP’s over the last 20 years. The industry has drilled over 5,000 wells. BP has drilled around 1,500 of those 5,000 wells, and this is the first time that we’ve had a major incident. And I think it is legitimate to draw analogies with, for example, the space program.

The space program was not canceled because of the issues around Apollo 13. It’s also legitimate to draw comparisons with the airline industry. When the Air France plane fell out of the sky coming out of Brazil, we didnt ground the airline industry. So we need to learn the lessons here. They will be learned and they will shape, I’m certain, the industry as it moves forward.

Drawing analogies between this accident and the  Apollo 13 mission makes no sense at all and he uses it to distract from the severity of this incident. There were, first off, no deaths associated with the Apollo 13 mission, and second, Dr. Hayward is completely disregarding the damage the leaking oil and gas is causing to the environment and the coastline communities.
The same is true of the Air France flight. Yes, 228 people died in the accident, but Dr Hayward is saying we should not stop deep oil drilling because we did not ground the airline industry after the plane went down. This analogy illustrates how disconnected Dr. Hayward is from the severity of the oil spill.  He is only seeing the deaths, and the money lost. He is not considering the vast unaccountable ecological damage the oil is causing. Moreover, the Apollo 13 mission and Flight AF447 did not lead to an economic disaster causing hundreds of people to lose their livelihood as is happening on the Gulf coast right now. Flight AF447 did not continue to reek havoc on the surrounding environments for months after the crash.
This sort of thinking is how we got into the environmental situation we are in now. People in power in these large corporations are not willing to say, “You know, this technology is not necessary, it is just too harmful.”  Their focus is always on shareholder profits, never on wider ecological impacts. Our disconnection from the natural systems that keep our communities and economies alive is leading us to our own destruction.
Think about this: people talk of nuclear power as a “clean, alternative” energy source. However, what will a CEO say when a plant starts leaking radioactive material into the environment, killing everything? Will he or she say, “We didn’t stop the oil companies from drilling when they had accidents, why should we be shut down?”
Where would we be if a hundred years ago people noticed how dirty and destructive fossil fuels were and decided to try alternatives instead?

Coal Country the Movie


COAL COUNTRY tells of the dramatic struggle around the use of coal, which provides over half the electricity in America. For more information about the movie and to watch a preview click here


Watch the Preview

In Appalachia, miners and residents are locked in conflict: is mining
and processing coal essential to providing good jobs, or is it destroying the land, water and air? What does this mean for the rest of America and the world?

Passions are running high in the mountains of Appalachia. Families and communities are deeply split over what is being done to their land. At issue is the latest form of strip mining called ‘mountaintop removal’, or MTR. Coal companies blast the tops off mountains, and run the debris into valleys and streams. Then they mine the exposed seams of coal and transport it to processing plants. Coal is mined more cheaply than ever, and America needs coal. But the air and water are filled with chemicals, and an ancient mountain range is disappearing forever.

For more information about the movie, events,  and to watch a preview click here

Adventure Film Festival


Patagonia Clothing Companies’ Adventure Film Festival is happening in Boulder Colorado Tomorrow!! Watch a preview at the link below.

Giardia Myth-Buster:


How Hearsay and Anecdotal Evidence has Created a False Industry Standard

By Erik Schlimmer

Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake in the Adirondacks. Image: Craig Cimmons

There are many things outdoor educators agree on. For example, a warm meal feels great at the end of the day. Cotton fabrics take forever to dry in the field and should thus be avoided. Most small groups generate less impact than large groups do. Mosquitoes and black flies come straight from hell. And, all backcountry water must be treated due to the presence of Giardia, a protozoan that has infested water sources throughout the United States, causing the debilitating gastrointestinal illness giardiasis.

Now, there is no denying hot meals are soothing, cotton kills, good things come in small packages, and camping during bug season is cruel and unusual punishment. But, has Giardia really infested our water sources? Ask this question to nearly any outdoor educator and you will receive a harried, “Oh, yes it has!” However, to the above question I calmly answer, “No, it has not.” I teach a curriculum that embraces drinking straight from the source.

read the rest of this article:

Health Care or The Environment.

Which Comes First?
A look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
By: Craig Cimmons

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

As an environmentalist, I paid close attention to the candidate’s environmental stances and solutions during the Presidential election of 2009. However, the more I listened, the more apparent something became. American citizens are not going to devote their full attention to the needs of the environment until their own needs are met. With America’s health care system in need of desperate repair, the average citizen is worrying about problems closer to home then the large scale, hard to understand, global environmental problems.

Families that are losing everything they own to fight a disease, (or live in fear of this happening) do not have any resources (time, energy and money) to devote to anything outside of these problems.  A family that is watching cancer slowly consume their loved one (and their life savings) should never be expected to fight enormous problems like global warming, peak oil and the steady decrease of drinking water.