We Are Complicit

I am so sad about the environmental destruction devastating the gulf coast as a result of the oil spill from a BP drilling platform. The first photo of an oil-coated bird appeared online yesterday, and I wept in pain, and continued crying when I heard on the radio that the oil was headed towards the marshlands where brown pelican are just now hatching. But the truth is, we are all responsible. It calls to mind an advertisement Greenpeace placed in The New York Times following the Exxon Valdez disaster:

It wasn’t the Exxon Valdez captain’s driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill. It was yours. ~Greenpeace advertisement, New York Times, 25 February 1990

Make no mistake – BP and other oil companies were not in this alone. (Though it is not surprising that the first entity to mobilize to help BP with the spill was Shell, another oil company.)  It is our dependence on oil, and our short-sighted focus on our own convenience that allows these tragedies to happen. Check out this New York Times editorial for more.

New York Times Opinion Piece
Satellite Images from Thursday, April 27

The Poverty Penalty

Design for the Other 90%Capitalism at the Crossroads: Aligning Business, Earth, and Humanity (2nd Edition)
Stuart Hart, a professor of Business at Cornell University, has written extensively about the “bottom of the pyramid” (or the largest, but poorest group of citizens around the world.) He discusses how investing in eco-friendly technologies can help reduce the poverty in a recent EnvironMinute podcast.

This theme is also present in the “Design for the Other 90%” exhibit curated by the Cooper-Hewett Design Museum, and now on exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC.