Since the dawn of civilization, the debate over whether mankind is inherently good or evil has raged. While we see amazing acts of kindness and martyrdom around the world, the selfish outrage that has ensued because of the recent federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling clearly proves otherwise.
Shortly after the explosion on a British Petroleum oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that caused the death of 11 people and led to the beginning of what continues to be an endless oil spill, President Obama halted all offshore drilling operations. He put this temporary stoppage in place until investigators could figure out exactly what went wrong in the tragic accident and to give scientists and engineers time to come up with preventative measures to stop any future toxic spews if this scenario should repeat itself.
Yet, despite the common sense policy, many fellow Americans are calling it outrageous, a knee-jerk reaction, and a blatant over-exaggeration. And they are doing so all because they just found out that the safe federal maneuver may cost them a few extra pennies per gallon at the pump.
The protesters cite the rare possibility of such a catastrophic event from happening again. They cite the extremely low percentage of oil spills versus the number of oil rigs in operation off our coastal shores. Despite the fact that their bellows are accurate, they fail to comprehend that even though the ratio may be one oil spill in the last 1,000 oil rigs erected, it is one too many.
Near 25,000 gallons of oil continue to gush out of the leaky pipe on a daily basis. Although BP is now capturing some of the leaking sludge, the biggest oil spill in US history continues to grow at an alarming rate. Animals of the Gulf Coast waters are starting to wash up dead on southern beaches. Endangered species of the area are now under more threat of going extinct.
And yet, we Americans don't seem to care. We focus our displeasure not on this eco-disaster, but on the fact that it and the governmental reaction in its aftermath are going to cost us a little more money to fill up our huge SUVs.
Most just naturally believe the oil slick will successfully get cleaned up (assuming we actually stop it one day) and that Mother Nature will wash the noxious slick off its back and rebound to its original vital and healthy state. Maybe this mentality is because it's not occurring in our backyard. Maybe it's because we don't actually see the blackened-tar dead bodies of dolphins and pelicans lying next to our kid's sand castle.
For whatever reason, mankind thinks about the minor hit to its wallet rather than the major blow to the environment it lives in. In doing so, mankind is thinking about today's small onus to its daily struggle rather than its long-term survival.
When it comes to environmental protection, there has always been a reluctance by society to take action. Many citizens and politicians, especially in tough economic times, don't think about what may or may not affect us tomorrow – they think about the here and now. And that thought process always and inevitably comes back to one thing: money.
Jobs, investing, and development don't necessarily go hand-in-hand with the pro-environmental movement, although recently many are trying to change that through the push for renewable energy sources.
Selfishness is the act of putting our own needs ahead of the needs and desires of others. In a nut shell, it is the equivalent of people voicing their concern over a federal oil drilling moratorium simply because they want a few extra green dollars in their pockets rather than ensuring there is a healthy, green planet here for our kids and grandkids to enjoy. (Another Happy Meal for your child or an investment in his or her future?)
We are human and, whether we like it or not, we run the gamut of dramatic emotions and feelings – be it happiness, sadness, kindness, guilt, greed, or selfishness. It's just the way it is. So, the debate on whether mankind is inherently good or evil will futilely rage on well into the future.
That is if there is a planet still here to allow it.