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Hubris: Insolence or arrogance caused by inordinate pride; exaggerated self-confidence

— Webster’s Dictionary

“And we care about the small people.”

— British Petroleum Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg

Hmmm, is this hubris?

On the need to stop the gushing oil: “I want my life back!”

— Tony Howard, BP CEO

Maybe this is hubris, too — at least narcissism.

Or, “the size of the oil spill is relatively tiny,” he quipped as hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil spewed forth in billowing clouds and as thousands of people’s ways-of-life and livelihoods are being brought to an oily pause and millions of animals, birds, amphibians, fish, plants, trees are being brought to oily deaths.

The unfortunately typical corporate attitude of “out of our way, little people — we can handle this” may eventually bring all beings on Earth to their knees.

As Naomi Klein recently said, “This Gulf Coast crisis is about many things — corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels.

But underneath it all, it’s about this: our culture’s excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us.”

If being a “small person” means working hard to make a living, loving the Earth and family, having humility and compassion instead of pride, loving democratic cooperation and consideration, count me in.

It is possible that a positive outcome of this disaster will be a dawning realization that the “Precautionary Principle,” which holds that when a human endeavor might cause harm, that until it’s proved otherwise, the endeavor needs to wait, must guide us always. That way we would turn to clean renewable sources of energy.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center is organizing a local “Hands Across the Sand” event to join together with groups across the nation who are standing up together as part of a national call to action in response to the BP disaster to say NO to all offshore drilling and YES to clean energy.

The event is on the lawn between the Boulder Municipal Building and the Boulder Public Library, at Broadway and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder.

Offshore drilling must be stopped. Join together and demand a sea change in our relationship to our earthly home. When will doing nothing become harder than taking a stand for real change?

Judith Mohling is a member of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.