Crude Impact tells several stories that are difficult to hear. The stories can elicit compassion or anger or both.
While it is easy to blame these events on the corporations involved, perhaps it is unfair. Ultimately, we the people of the western world are responsible for the behavior of western corporations. We have allowed the establishment of a system that not only permits corporations to behave in a manner that is detrimental to humans, other species and the earth, but actually encourages it.
Corporations are established with a single-minded purpose. The responsibility of the corporation is to create the best profit, near and long term, for the shareholders of the corporation.
If we want to change the behavior of corporations, we must change the laws that underlie their existence. We have the power, but apparently not the motivation, to do so. Boycotting, picketing, etc. may have some consequences, but the corporation will continue to focus on what it is established to do.
The fundamental problem is our laws. We must elect politicians who are willing to set standards for corporations so that each is on an equal plane. It is difficult for a corporation to unilaterally choose to be more responsible, thereby increasing costs and becoming less competitive. The board would change management to pursue a more profitable course. It is their obligation to do so.
Evidence of this came from one oil corporation recently. A concern about the environment prompted someone within the corporation to ask the United States government to set limits on CO2 emissions. The corporation didn’t decide to independently set standards for itself – its ability to survive in the cutthroat corporate world we have created would be compromised.
Corporations are a collection of human beings, some who act conscientiously, some who don’t, but all who must follow rules we have established and continue to support. Let’s give them the charter to act more conscientiously in the world by electing politicians who will make significant changes to our laws concerning corporations.