Reading the news lately is so depressing, what with the massive environmental devastation occurring in the gulf as a result of the oil spill, among other bad news. It appears that we will be seeing the devastation for years to come, with no end in sight.
Before the company I work for acquired an oil & gas company a few years ago, I knew very little about the oil & gas industry. What I know now is how corrupt the oil & gas companies are and how their sense of entitlement and hunger for power pervade politics and the entire industry. They feel and act like they are beyond the law. The people who work in oil & gas at my company believe (and some actually say) that they contribute more to the firm than anyone else because of the money they bring in...even though we are an environmental consulting firm, and much of what we do helps and protects the environment. My friend and coworker--who has worked extensively with these people in Alaska--says that the only ones worse than the people associated with the oil & gas industry are their lawyers.
I just read an article about the devastation that has been wrought in Nigeria from oil leaks...the oil companies claim that the disasters there have been due to terrorism and vandalism, but environmental groups and local communities say otherwise.
The article says that up to 1.5 million tons of oil (50 times the pollution from the Exxon Valdez disaster) has been spilled in the Niger Delta over the past 50 years. Amnesty International estimates that 9 million barrels of oil were spilled last year. And of course, the world looks away. Now all the attention is being focused on the Gulf of Mexico, because the great US of A is being affected. Yet again, we only pay attention when the developed world suffers.