28 May 2010

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

28 May 2010

Some days pass with hardly a thought of it. Other days are literally oppressed with the weight of the oil and gas pumping into the Gulf.

Our real Gulf crisis has begun. Perhaps it will be the first sea to die. Completely.

And the sight of the various guilty parties sputtering denials and accusations makes me think of teenagers caught red-handed at some obnoxious prank.

Hearing Tony Hayward (CEO of BP) say, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume," makes one either apoplectic or catatonic (depends on the day). The insight here into total corporate control of the regulatory process and government is a discussion of its own.

Three things confound in this situation:

-Corporate arrogance, greed, and short-sightedness

-Our blundering non-understanding of the natural world, its complexities and frailties

-Public indifference

The first two are to be expected, but the indifference of the public is staggering. We have managed to totally divorce action and consequence in our minds. Every time we start a car, every plastic bottle we buy contributes to this disaster, but like true schizophrenics, we do not connect cause and effect. We wring our hands in concern about the oily birds and beaches, and then wash our hands with soap from a plastic pump dispenser.

We are the problem, not BP, not the US Government, not the MMS.

And of course, the long-term battle of hearts and minds has already been lost with BP’s clever application of vast quantities of dispersant and tight control of media coverage coming from the battlefield. Corexit broke up and sank the oil, so the impact on the Gulf Coast beaches will be a fraction of the reality. The undersea flora and fauna, however, will never recover. The Gulf, already severely wounded from the phosphates pouring down the Mississippi, is really a large bowl, with a circular current fed from the Atlantic. As those submerged oceans of oil swirl around and sweep past Florida, they will be caught up in the Gulf Stream, and ultimately be deposited in the Georges Bank, thus finishing the decimation of the world’s greatest food source.

But the public won’t see it, thanks to the dispersant and BP’s adroit image control, and this will drop off our radar like all the other clarion calls warning of the imminent collapse of the natural world that sustains us.

Drive on.