Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cleanup in aisle 4

By Capt. Fogg

You're going to see more pictures of oily turtles and birds and it will break your heart if you're not one of those religious types who think this "world" isn't worth anything, is ours to destroy and is about to disappear anyway. You'll see pictures of oil soaked wetlands and poisoned mangroves, but if you're not familiar with the part such things and places play in the health of our food chain and in filtering out our foul effluents, producing oxygen and protecting the shoreline, you may really not care, since you live in Ohio or Missouri; but it will affect you and it will affect your children more. Their children will inherit a bleak, dirty, toxic world of privation and perhaps worse.

If you're like most Americans, not really concerned with much more than immediate things; this months mortgage and credit card payments, putting gas in the trucks and getting your offspring to school and the various extra curricular things they have to do to keep them from any consciousness of life in general, you won't care too much and you won't let it occupy your mind for much longer. They'll just clean it up, right? They'll wash the seagulls and loggerheads and bring in new sand beaches for the resorts and rake out the tar balls. The birds and turtles and fish and seals and dolphins and sponges and squid? If they have no food, then let them eat at McDonalds. No, it will all be cleaned up and BP will pay for it.

No they won't. As the Lords of Oil did in Alaska and California, they'll spend a few tens of millions lobbying to have their liability capped and the payments postponed long enough that most of us will forget or be distracted by some other urgent contingency or new witch hunt or celebrity scandal or charismatic leader who will do as he's told. With a tiny fraction of their 50 or 60 billion dollar annual profits, they'll buy a huge publicity campaign, maybe rough up and discredit a few investigative reporters. We'll listen to some Limbaugh on some corporate network telling you oil is natural, that the ocean won't be harmed and only beach huggers and Communists care about such elitist things anyway -- and if there was any problem, it's all because of regulation.

I dare not use terms like "environment" or "ecology" lest I sound like the cooks and nuts and extremists who have already been marginalized in the United Corporations of America. The effects on the huge fishing industry? Well your Fillet-O-Fish came from some concrete tank in Vietnam anyway and we all like Burgers better. Burgers are American. Frenchmen eat fish.

Do you care that the entire food chain has been poisoned at the roots and that the poison is spreading perhaps ten times faster than the corporate owned media admits to? Nah, that's too "enviro" sounding and too reminiscent of radicals with long hair. Maybe you'll notice that the job chain that proceeds from fishing, the boat building, the towns with economies based on it, the people who process, distribute and retail it -- it all spreads out into a wide territory, like the oil slick approaching the Florida coast, soaking the Northern Gulf coast and soon to muck up the Keys and Cuba and all the reefs and shoals where the food chain begins. Maybe you won't notice until shrimp and shellfish cost more than lobster or caviar and another ten thousand miles of coastline are mucked up beyond redemption. Oil is natural! The dispersants will disperse it and never mind they're more toxic than oil - you can't see them and that's what counts.

The plankton, the larvae that make so much of our oxygen, that feed everything from sea anemones to blue whales or grow up to be thousands of species without which life will change forever -- how many years, decades, centuries will it take to recover from this one spill? Who cares? We don't care about the forests that produce the rest of our dwindling oxygen either. We need beef. We need lumber. We need oil. We need to expand to fill every space and use up everything faster and faster. After all, the planet that dies with the fewest resources wins!

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home