27 May, 2010

Educational TV

You may be wondering what's going on in the live video embedded above. It's live feed of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that resulted from the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig about a month ago. Eleven men working the rig were killed.

I've already posted my opposition to offshore drilling. This isn't the first spill - how inadequate a word, no? - and it won't be the last. Someone on the news noted that if we were serious about ending spills we would ban shipping oil in tankers, since they are the source of most spills, which I thought was an interesting point. Though I grew up on the Atlantic coast in Florida, I've spent plenty of time on the Gulf. With family in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, I know some of the areas that are making the news each night. My own state is holding its collective breath since our economy is pretty much entirely based on service industries and tourism, to say nothing about our seafood industry. Since I've been home, we've already had relatives cancel a planned trip because they thought the beaches here were affected (they aren't, nor the majority of Gulf beaches!). We're still waiting word on whether the latest attempt to stop the geyser of oil, the "top kill", have worked. I hope so, but we already have oil in the marshes of Louisiana that likely can't be cleaned out (image gum in your hair), brown pelicans and their eggs coated in oil not long after leaving the endangered list, gallons of chemicals being dumped into the Gulf with no real idea of the long-term effects, and the possibility of losing generations-old family businesses. And to think, just a few days ago BP CEO Tony Hayward was saying he thought the impacts of the rig disaster and spill would be "minimal." For starters, tell that to those eleven families who lost loved ones, Tony. Tell that to all the businesses along the Gulf linked to fishing. Hell, go try to scrub all that oil off those pelicans flailing about, unable to fly. And it's only been about a week since the US government told BP to cut back on dumping Corexit 9500 disperse the oil, due to concerns about environmental and health impacts, and the company all but blew government officials off and just kept dumping, creating a soupy mess that was highlighted by a news crew diving into the mess with Jacques Cousteau's grandson this week. Add to that the fact that members of Congress had to demand BP loosen their control on the video feed of the spill and provide access to the feed, even during this attempt to plug the well.

To claim that the Gulf was pristine prior to this would be a lie. There are red tides, dead zones and all sorts of man-made messes. But for about a day's worth of US oil consumption, we gambled with all this and lost. And we won't know everything that's lost tomorrow or the next day...some losses will take years.

Again, I hope this worked. I hope they stopped the flow of oil. Unfortunately, just as people stopped asking about and lost interest in New Orleans post-Katrina, people will lose interest in this story as they do all others when the drama fades, but the story will carry on for so many. Just don't let anyone fool you into thinking that protecting the environment is a choice between jobs and nature.
Anyway, enjoy the show.

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