Rod Dreher

I passed a British Petroleum gas station today, for the first time since the Gulf oil spill. I took special notice of the sunny, green and green-friendly logo on the big plastic sign out front, and thought once again about how the companies expensively-purchased environmentally friendly image is shot all to hell. I also thought about how I have tended to buy gas at BP stations when given the opportunity, probably influenced heavily by good thoughts toward the company, connected to that logo. I can’t prove this, of course, but seeing that logo today made me realize how I had all these unconscious positive thoughts about the oil company.
Writing in today’s Times, Lisa Margonelli calls me out:

It seems likely that the oil company that holds the lease on Deepwater Horizon, BP, will finally have to abandon its Orwellian “Beyond Petroleum” marketing campaign. This slogan has been so perversely successful that, in 2008, British marketers voted BP’s brand more “green” than Greenpeace. Factually ludicrous, the slogan does accurately reflect drivers’ desire to buy unlimited gasoline while remaining “beyond” all the mess.

Margonelli goes on to make the point that as long as we consumers continue to use petroleum products to the degree that we do, we are complicit in oil spills. Even if there were to be a moratorium on oil drilling in US waters, all that would do, she rightly points out, is drive more drilling in countries that don’t have the same environmental safeguards written into law as the US does. I appreciate, I guess, Margonelli’s pointing out that BP’s green campaign works to make people like me feel less morally compromised by our use of gasoline — as if buying gas from a “green” company somehow lessened the moral implications. Well, they sure got me.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus