I have not been following the Gulf oil tragedy with any kind of consistency or depth. Every time I hear an update on the radio or glimpse a random headline, I grimace and feel a little sick…and then my mind moves onto other things.
I know it’s bad:
I know it’s sad:
I know we are ignoring it:
“It’s just a depressing story. No one reads a depressing story, at least, not more than once. And no one subscribes to a depressing byline feed…If there isn’t something a reader can do about the damn butterfly, then there’s no point in telling them about it. It just depresses people, and it depresses your numbers.”
As we ignore the other tragedies accumulating in the name of oil:
More oil is spilled in Nigeria each year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico due to the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster, reports The Guardian.
Shell, with the federal government as majority stakeholder, blames the spills on saboteurs, vandalism and theft, and not its crumbling infrastructure.
Wallowing in poverty, and oil, and subjugated by gun-toting security guards, what little attempts at fighting back the local population has managed to muster have either been squashed, or appear to be without hope.
Two years ago, Current TV’s Mariana van Zeller traveled to Nigeria to check out the situation in the excellent investigative report, “Rebels in the Pipeline.”
And I know it’s our fault…as in you-and-me fault:
I think the most disturbingly satisfying thrill of this entire event –and it is, in a way, a perverse thrill — comes from understanding, at a very core level, our shared responsibility, our co-creation of the foul demon currently unleashed.
What a thing we have created. What an extraordinary horror our rapacious need for cheap, endless energy hath unleashed; it’s a monster of a scale and proportion we can barely even fathom.
Because if you’re honest, no matter where you stand, no matter your politics, religion, income or mode of transport, you see this beast of creeping death and you understand: That is us. The spill may be many things, but more than anything else it is a giant, horrifying mirror.
But I know we are the ones who will have to change. And that’s why I’m going back into design. And that’s why I’ll be taking the bus.
…after all is said and done, it’s gloomily nice to think our darkest disaster in a generation could somehow ultimately improve our attitudes, change our behavior, lighten our violent treatment of the planet. As someone recently noted, the BP spill isn’t Obama’s Katrina, it’s actually Big Oil’s Chernobyl. Meaning: a disaster so appalling and devastating it might very well alter the industry and change the course of our energy policy forever.
Is it possible? Or, more accurately, are we even capable of such a shift? Is there any silver lining to be found in that black and greasy gloom? This is, perhaps, the most imperative question of all: If we can produce a demon of such extraordinary scale and devastation, can we not also somehow create its exact opposite? Let us pray.