Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greenpeace shuts down BPs in London

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

From Grist.org's Jonathan Hiskes:

Greenpeace U.K. shut down at least 30 BP stations in London on Tuesday in one of the more ballsy displays of civil disobedience against the energy giant. Activists fanned out to as many as 50 BP stations -- the exact number isn't clear -- and posted banners that said, "Closed: Moving beyond petroleum."

They also pulled safety switches that cut off fuel supplies at the stations -- and removed the switches so they couldn't be turned back on again.

British environmentalists have history of more rowdy civil disobedience than American greens, with the occasional exception of Appalachian mountain defenders. But with the effort to pass a U.S. climate and energy bill dying with a whimper last week, maybe it's time for American activists to take up more forceful tactics.

Read more, and watch a video from the protest, here.

Every time I hear someone say they're going to protest BP, I hear a follow up voice say something akin to, "But, it's not the local guy's fault. It's not the owner of your neighborhood station's fault. You'll hurt our local economy."

No, the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico isn't the fault of the station owner down the street. But it is the fault of the company they chose to work with, the company whose logo is on everything at their station — from the pumps to the Styrofoam coffee cups. If they're upset about missing customers, perhaps they should look for a new franchiser or maybe even a different line of business.

And let's be real, you protest BP and support Hugo Chavez's Citgo. You can get pennies off a car wash! Or, you know, pick another gas station. They've all got public relations problems, but who cares because we need them like a crack addict needs their next hit.

Here's a list of the world's largest gas and oil companies. Notice anything? ALL of the biggest companies are foreign companies. All of them.

The real problem isn't about which gas station has the most politically correct gasoline, the real problem is about how much gas and oil we consume on a daily basis in our country.

The Grist.org author is right. Americans aren't as likely to destroy fuel pumps in protest. We're more likely to complain to each other while continuing on with our over-indulged lives like we're not part of the problem, like we don't contribute to it every single day of our lives.

You want to punch petroleum companies in the gut? Stop driving so much. Buy a vehicle that gets better gas mileage. Stop using so many plastic products. Recycle. Buy local, and take your own shopping bag. Stop complaining, take your blinders off and become part of the solution.

Learn more about alternatives to foreign oil:

Further reading: The New York Times' Thomas L. Friedman says, after touring the Gulf coast himself, he's not sure who's worse, the U.S. Senate or BP. Read his op-ed, "Want the good news first?," here.

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