June 5, 2010 -So today is World Environment Day. We’re in the midst of an oil leak and spill disaster, so now is a good time to think where we’re moving. Is the planet less polluted today than some decades ago, before the environment was given its due importance. We think no, todays pollution levels seem far below the levels that were seen in the 1950s and 1960s. This is because of more stringent norms, government oversight through organisations like the EPA and other “non-state” actors like environmental watchdogs like Greenpeace and others. Today the smoke belching, gas spewing factory may be a rarity, but is it because of the above mentioned things or is it because most of these have shifted to China? BTW there you can still witness these smoking chimneys and soot that hangs in the air, especially during winter when it all turns into a thick smog and haze.
As far as disasters are concerned, the BP incident is a rare event these days-more of a black swan event-not that I am saying that it could not have been predicted or that the response could not have been better, but that it was really perhaps the first incident in which a blowout preventer failed. Or was it really the first one, as BP claims? Have there been other incidents in the past when these devices failed? Perhaps someone in the Oil and Gas industry should come out with statistics.
But, I digress here. Today on the occasion of World Environment Day, we should all pause to think whether we are really making the environment a better place over the years or worse? Is todays economic model sustainable? For how long? What legacy should we gift our children and grandchildren? A polluted planet and tons of Collaterized Debt Obligations (CDOs)? Can’t we do any better? We better think seriously about it now.
Comments are welcome!