Should you boycott BP?

Picture: Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

International calls to boycott BP due to the ongoing horrific impacts of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have grown rapidly over the past few weeks. But which petrol supplier would one select instead?  

Oil companies exist because we are dependent on them. The time has come to begin to explore ways to wean ourselves off oil completely.   

In order to wean ourselves off oil we have to begin by looking at how we move around – what are the alternative forms of transport available to us? When we need to be somewhere do we simply hop into the car or on a plane or do we consider all the many other alternatives available first? These include walking, cycling, using public transport, skype meetings, teleconferences, combining purposes to minimise emissions, car-pooling… There are so many options available, if we could just shift our thinking so that cars and planes become a LAST resort.  

At Project 90 we have implemented a few strategies to cut our travel emissions over the past 3 years — [Read more on the ‘about us’ section of this blog] — we know that it is possible to live and work well without being dependent on oil for getting around. In fact it is possible to live better – getting fitter, taking time to think while getting from point A to point B, actually seeing parts of your town you would otherwise miss, getting to know fellow citizens – by using public transport, walking or cycling for day-to-day mobility.  

All major cities in South Africa have achieved improved public transport through the hosting of the World Cup, yet we are told that these services will not all automatically remain once the event ends. What a great legacy it would be for the World Cup if South Africa’s public transport is greatly improved for the benefit of all in the long-term.  

We challenge you to think creatively about how you could wean yourself, your family, your company – off oil and start taking action today. 

The author of an article in Newsweek says: “Consumer boycotts of the latest oil company to run afoul of public opinion are emotionally satisfying but ultimately futile.. But to find the ultimate culprits, look in the mirror. Oil companies are drilling because of ..the world’s insatiable lust for oil”. Read the article here

Andreas Spath, a columnist for News24, takes a look at all the oil companies in South Africa to see which one is the best, or should we say ‘least-worst’!   He finds that Engen is the most ethical choice when it comes to filling up your tank, but reiterates our point:   “The petroleum business is dirty and so are the organisations that run it. All we can do is choose the least tainted company in a thoroughly rotten bunch. What we really need is a way of living that doesn’t depend on oil in the first place.” Read his article here.


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