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Deepwater Denial

Here’s an eco-themed mix.

For ten days or so I’ve been in something akin to a state of denial, or perhaps a better term would be extreme wishful thinking. I was sorry to hear people had died when Deepwater Horizon blew up in the Gulf of Mexico. I wished the workers who were missing would be found alive, but that didn’t happen. I wished the leakage of oil would prove to be minimal, but that didn’t happen. I wished efforts to contain the mess would be successful, but so far no luck there either.

Most of all I wished this would turn out to be a false alarm, a not so big deal in the big scheme of things. It is clearly a disaster. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a catastrophe. But it is looking more and more like that.

Now a smell pervades the area. I can’t quite detect it myself, not having a good nose, but they say it smells like diesel fuel. Mind you, we are quite some distance from the Gulf here in New Orleans. That’s how big this thing is.

We are concerned about the health effects of breathing hydrocarbons. I’m concerned about the health of our child. But what are we going to do? Evacuate?

It’s not an oil spill, technically. It is like an erupting fountain of oil deep, deep under the water. A “wild well” might be the proper term. A river of petrochemicals, gushing into the water of the Gulf at an astonishing rate of 5,000 barrels a day — maybe more. That’s almost a quarter million gallons per day. As big as that number is, the most important part of that phrase is the last two words — per day. This has been going on for something like ten days already, and the really bad news is no one has any way to stop it any time soon.

At least this will shut up the “Drill Baby Drill” idiots for a few moments. That’s not a partisan swipe at Sarah Palin, by the way, since we all know Republicans and Democrats have tended to promulgate reckless environmental policies, and that Obama has recently championed more aggressive drilling.

We seem determined to suck every last bit of oil out of the Earth, to feed our rapacious hunger for energy — and then what? Every school child knows that fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource. So when we run out — then we’ll develop alternatives. Is that the plan?

What are we waiting for?

Published inEcology


  1. Brenda Helverson Brenda Helverson

    We are waiting on common sense on nuclear power. Any way that you slice it, our current dependence on coal and oil to generate electricity is not sustainable. Solar, wind, and even water power are periodic sources that are useful to handle the peak electrical load but the continuous load (i.e., the base load) must be supplied by a continuous source of power. Coal, oil, and nuclear power seem to be the only options.

    Yes, nuclear power generates spent nuclear fuel, but unlike coal or oil, this pollution isn’t spread across the landscape. Stewart Brand suggests that we continue to store spent nuclear fuel at the reactor site, where experts, monitoring, and security already exist. A solution to nuclear waste will be found. But while we debate, oil pollution is killing sea creatures in the Gulf and assaulting the nostrils of innocent University employees many miles away. This is stupid beyond all reason.

  2. I always take the opportunity to mention our NEED for inter-city speed rail and local light rails — seeing how our transportation habits are really messing up our entire planet — and the reaction is ALWAYS visceral. The HORROR of NOT having a car!!!! Even in the most casual discussion [in general] individuals can’t fathom not having a car. But, but, but, I think — trains can go anywhere, usually at intervals of every 15 to 20 minutes!

  3. haole wolf haole wolf

    The pictures online of the dead sea turtles hit me in the solar plexus, having snorkeled with so many of them over the past four years here on the Big Island. They are so wise and each has its own unique personality.

    Another reason to hate cars and recommit to public transit…

  4. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    Not to sound snotty…
    There is no more industrial base to create light-rail nor big rail.
    We are all mind-numbed, by design of our overlords.
    Anybody notice, or care to look up what happened to Warren Buffett’s
    big announcement of multi-billion dollar commitment to Rail development?
    It apparently got quashed. The money is not real.
    The money is Chinese.
    The Steel is mostly going to be from there.
    OOPS!…do we need to fireup our steel and iron and COAL monsters ala WW 2?
    Back then, places like Pittsburgh and Youngstown and Gary were choking
    in smoke and sludge and you got the constant cough, and your
    laundry caught the dust.
    Gotta FACE the apocalyptic reality.

  5. Chris Chris

    Do you know of any local operations for coastal clean-up? Volunteer match has NOTHING…NADA…ZILCH. Can you e-mail me?


  6. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    Discretion is the Better part of Valor: Protect your health…if you are even
    only Smelling fumes on the distant breeze, you are exposed to the chemicals.
    If you go down there and breathe the stuff as you scrub off pelicans, you’re damaging yourself.

  7. haole wolf haole wolf

    Jack’s point is crucial. Even a cursory google of exxon valdez volunteer health issues will yield pages and pages with discussions of a plethora of long-term health issues associated with the folks helping after the aftermath. Stay as far away as possible.

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