GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

GSBA Perspective Extra: Natural Resource Use - and Abuse

OUT for Sustainability

Natural Resource Use -- and Abuse

By Ariyah DeSouza

The most ongoing, obvious example of the disastrous reality of resource overconsumption is the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the Gulf Coast. Just two days before the 40th anniversary of Earth Day an oil drilling platform exploded off the Louisiana coast, causing the largest offshore spill in US history. Photos from ground zero - and of black water sites hundreds of miles away - show the dire consequences of our steadily increasing dependence on and demand for petroleum.

It was hoped that this year's Earth Day would be a turning point for advancing climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. An estimated one billion people in 190 countries took action on April 22 in the form of service projects, donations or socially responsible investing, political action and awareness building events.

But our unified commitment to more responsible consumption was nearly eclipsed by this man-made, preventable disaster. Fishermen haven't been able to support their families and have lost their livelihoods, perhaps permanently. The number of sick oil spill workers is on the rise while thousands of animals have been injured or killed by toxic muck.

All of this makes a large dent into our fledgling green U.S. economy. Initial cost estimates to the fishing industry are $2.5 billion, while the impact on tourism could be more than $3 billion. Other ongoing oil spill numbers paint a grim, ungreen picture:

$990M - BP's first report of its clean up expenditures in June

$21B - Early estimate of what the five companies connected to the disaster (BP, Transocean, Anadarko Petroleum, Halliburton and Cameron International) lost in market capitalization

$75M - The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 limits BP's liability for non-cleanup costs to this amount unless gross negligence is proven

$3.5B to $12B - Estimate of total insured losses

$63B - BP’s stock has lost more than one-third of its value in the first six weeks post-disaster

Somehow, most of us aren't worried. The accident doesn't affect me, right? After all, the oil spill hasn't raised the price of crude oil. AAA estimates that 32 million Americans travelled over Memorial Day weekend, almost 5 percent more than last year, spending an average of $809 on gas.

Was that you?

No comments: