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My pack of string beans cost a lot more than two bucks, when you figure in the cost from the impact of the petrolium oil industry.

Today I bought a pack of string beans. They were fresh. They were trimmed. They were not organic. And they were wrapped in plastic. I was in the bodega buying a few last minute items for Blaise’s sleepover party (Yes, there are 10 10 year olds not sleeping in my living room as I write this).  The last minute items included snack foods . I bought Sun Chips and felt less guilty, although I’m not sure  that’s just not greenwashing. I also bought a big bag of pretzels and cheese puffs — I just gave into the impulse to indulge Blaise’s for his Bday.

Those big bags of snack foods was as far as I would go. I resisted the urge to buy seltzer — finally remembering that I had pledged not to buy water bottles. I made home made lemonade instead. The kids drank it happily along with water. Ironically, when I unwrapped the string beans, I realized they were packed on a styrofoam tray whichI had pledged not to buy. (Does it count that I bought it without realizing?) It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to buy styrofoam. Styromfaom is made out of petrolium.

One of my things is that I don’t understand money. I mean, I don’t get money in the big sense of how much there seems to be now a days. In my own lifetime, I have seen the world and the people who inhabit it, earn, spend and in this case collect more money than it seems humanly possible to spend.

$270 Million dollars is one of those obseenely large numbers that mean nothing to me — like the trillions they talk about in the news when they talk debt. But it is an obscene amount. And According to this post on Care2.com, the Gulf Oil Spill: 10 Horrifying Facts You Never Wanted To Know by: Beth Buczynski the he owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP is actually profiting from the biggest oil spill in US history .

“7. Transocean Ltd., the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP, has been flying under the radar in the mainstream blame game. Because of past experience with Gulf Oil spills, Transocean decided to insure the Deepwater Horizon rig for about twice what it was worth. In a conference call to analysts earlier this month, Transocean reported making a $270 million profit from insurance payouts after the disaster.”

Ethics aside, how is that even legal? But the scariest thing, (and we’re back to those big meaningless numbers here) according to a BP press release from yesterday, so far the cost of the spill to BP is aobut $930 million. This includes the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid. That’s excluding  consideration the other potential costs and liabilities to come associated with this travesty. It’s too early to figure that cost out.

An old consultant friend of mine once told me, “money is just a score card.” If that were true, than BP is definitley losing. But unfortunately so are the shrimp fisherman in Louisianna and everything that used to live in the sea and along the shores of the gulf.

What will it take to change how we define value with some other system beside money?  There’s got to be a better scorecard.

Meanwhile, we can sign petitions and fight legislation that protects the oil industry, but the biggest impact I think we can make is to vote with our dollars to not buy products or food that are a part of the petrolium oil chain.


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