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The Oil Spill

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“For the second day, public statements early in the day from BP and government officials seemed to suggest progress. Later in the day, they acknowledged that the effort was no closer to succeeding than when they started.”

Up until now I’ve avoided writing about the oil spill, even though it’s right up there in the forefront of my mind; quite honestly, I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said, no enlightening insights, and certainly no greater knowledge of logistics. Even my rage is fueled by information of which everyone is aware. Given all that, I don’t see why anyone would want to read what I have to say about it.

Nonetheless, it turns out that I have to write about the oil spill. Above all else I feel entirely impotent, tiny, up against these huge uncaring and greedy beasts who are destroying our planet — the ocean for godsakes! – and I can only do what I do: write about it.

Among the various snippets in today’s news stories, I came across this today:  “We’re doing things that are very difficult to do,” he {a BP executive} said. “Many of the things we have done have never been done before.”

This aggravates me on at least two counts: first – and this is the most obvious – they should have done these things before! They should have done them in a bathtub in some laboratory. If drilling is permitted (needless to say I think it shouldn’t be), at least the driller shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the ocean without first submitting a plan for disaster control and relief. Most towns and cities don’t let you build so much as an addition to a house without first conducting an environmental impact study, yet a company’s tanker can go charging into the precious blue sea and wreak havoc? How is this possible?

The second aggravation is that, while this is the worst oil spill to occur in this country, it is not the first big one. According to Rachel Maddow, a 1979 spill occurred in the same location, and the methods that were tried to fix it were the same bizaare, low-tech methods they’re screwing around with now: hats, junk fests, and all the rest. I haven’t seen any reporting on this outside of Maddow’s program; traditional newscasters are politely ignoring it. Why? Yes, the focus right now should be on solving the problem rather than on blaming someone, but when (if?) this is over and heads roll, I hope attention is paid to the travesty that, for more than 30 years, the oil industry hasn’t developed effective crisis management plans.

Another bit from today’s news stories:

‘After a slow start, American science is finally beginning to tackle the oil disaster in earnest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency charged with monitoring the health of the oceans, is sending multiple boats into the gulf. The National Science Foundation, another arm of the government, is issuing rapid grants to finance academic teams…”

“A slow start!” I’ll say! These guys are First Responders to environmental disaster, or they should be. Furthermore, it appears they’re using the disaster primarily to satisfy professional curiosity, collecting water and oil samples with which to conduct research. What they should be doing, IMHO, is brainstorming to find a fix. With all the scientific knowledge floating about in the world today, with so many scientists in so many labs, why aren’t they trying to figure it out? Do they really think oil company executives are smart enough to handle this? My gut instincts tell me it’s going to take a scientist. Hell, if they can’t, then WTF is science good for anyway?

I’m ranting off the top of my head, my thoughts without basis in scientific study or factual data — just biased opinion coupled with intense emotion. As I said, I don’t have anything terribly new to add.

All I have is a lifelong love for our once-magnificent ocean.

Ocean Mother

Was she perfect?
Did she care?
Did she always offer solace?
Was she what others label
a good mother?

Does the sea kiss land
in the same place twice,
toss debris upon the shore
with precious relics?
Does she repeat a movement ever?
Reflect sun the same way twice?
Yet when you leave her
You are whole and unconfused.

Her breathing long ago
like the swelling of the sea
like nothing else since infancy
was constant.
Seeking wholeness, not perfection,
when needing her again,
in the rocking of the waves
she is there.


6 responses »

  1. We lowly bayou folks down here in coastal Louisiana appreciate your rantings. I, for one, am wondering why you felt it necessary to criticize my blog post highlighting the beauty that stands to be destroyed, rather than leaving a word of encouragement at such a time? Nice poem.

    I would hardly call it criticism, saying I’d like to hear from someone like you, who lives near the spill, about it–which was in response to you saying you didn’t want to talk about it on your blog that’s supposedly all about the Louisiana wetlands. And what’s with the “lowly bayou folks”? I said nothing to warrant such sarcastic ire. You don’t want to talk about it, yet your attitude seems to be that I don’t have as much right to rant as you do–well, let me tell you, that little mess out in the ocean is not going to be confined to Louisiana and its environs for very long. I have just as much of an interest in a clean ocean, and a clean planet, as you do.–MS

  2. Marcy,
    Guess we could healthily go back and forth forever, but all I want to say to you is that my comment about your rantings was not in the least sarcastic. I was sincere. I wish more folks from across the country would rant about this horrific event. And you can expect readers of my blog to be defensive, because your comment came across as critical. Maybe it’s just the words you chose. Besides, I find this all very trivial and can’t believe I’m taking time out from filing my BP claim to even reply again. I must be insane!!!!!

    You’re not insane, you’re human, and most likely would rather deal with this trivia than with what is happening there. I’m sorry if my wording upset you, but I am originally from New York, and we don’t mince words. Not very diplomatic, but all I meant to say was that I wanted to hear what you guys were seeing and hearing and feeling and doing. And maybe not everyone all over the country is ranting, but believe me, everyone I know in CA and NY is heartbroken and/or angry as all get-out, and talk about it all the time.

    Now go, file your claim, and get all you can from those bastards. Good luck to all of you.–MS

  3. As a reader of BW’s blog, I’m very glad to hear that other areas of the country are angry about this oil leak. I know how upsetting this is to BW and how it is affecting her life. Marcy – I also understand your wanting to know how it is affecting the lives of the people in Louisiana. As a past resident of LA, I am back in the state visiting. It’s hard to know what’s going on unless you are right here immersed in it – hearing all the local news and not just the national reports. Thanks for the post on your blog to let the people here know that others care about this beautiful state and its people!

    As I said before, everyone I know, and people on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet, are extremely pissed off, scared, and distressed by the oil spill. You are not alone.–MS

  4. Thanks, Marcy! I filed the claim, and we shall see what happens next. I have another wetland tour tomorrow, which will hopefully create more awareness of the need to protect these bayou communities (and they are lowly!!!). Had an interview with a report from France today, and a reporter from Holland coming tomorrow. Seems the whole WORLD is concerned . . . . .

  5. Told ya! I’m glad. I’d love to go on one of your tours, by the way! Maybe someday…and I’m glad you’re still drumming up business.

    Marcy Sheiner

  6. good morning and thank you. see you someplace else soon.

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