Thoughts on the BP disaster - Rabidly Whimsical Tenacity
Jul. 8th, 2010
01:41 pm - Thoughts on the BP disaster
So, it’s all going to hell. We’re in day-almost-80 of this mess, and all efforts to fix the poison gushing up from the seabed have failed. Booms haven’t kept the oil out of the marshes. Sea turtles are being incinerated. Bird estuaries are oily messes. Tar balls have washed up on every coast surrounding the Gulf. Louisiana’s seafood industry has been much more than “decimated” – which means “reduced by ten percent” – it’s been destroyed. Waitstaff all over the country are being queried as to the origination of their seafood, the resounding response being “If it’s from Louisiana, we don’t want it.” (Even if the fish is freshwater, from inland, nowhere near the spill.) Fishermen who’ve earned an honest living for generations are being paid to clean up the what they can - that is, if BP’s checks clear, of which there has been some question.
And while of course it’s awful, I’m noticing some people seem to have the wrong idea about some of the events surrounding this mess.
For one, this whole “Boycott BP” thing. (Usually, in all caps, as a FaceBook page, with attendant exclamation points.) I got some news: BP ain’t the only one using that crude – they sell it to everyone else, too. And what’s more, if you boycott & bankrupt them, you know who gets to clean up their mess? Us. We do. The taxpayers.
You wanna stick it to the oil companies? Drive less. Vote for people who want alternative energy sources. Use less oil & gas. Make your home more energy efficient with new windows or appliances. Burn candles in winter for extra heat and have a romantic dinner. Refill water bottles with tap water – it’s better regulated than the bottled stuff, anyway. Shop at local farmers’ markets, or in bulk, and make arrangements with your friends to all go on the same day. Carpool, or *gasp*, take public transportation if you can. Ride your bike for errands. Tell your kid, “Too bad. You can’t have a car til you can buy it & insure it yourself.” Send money to the folks doing the animal cleaning, like these guys. It takes $5000 to rehab a sea turtle, and those little guys need a place to live until we clean up the mess we made of their homes.
A little inconvenience might be worth not poisoning our oceans, and I promise, making arrangements with friends & neighbors to go shopping cuts costs & builds community. Hell, do someone a favor – when I have to drive out to a big store, I ask my neighbors if they need anything. Even if the answer is “no”, lemme tell you, everyone here smiles at me & talks to me, and keeps an eye on my house when I’m gone. It’s nice.
Another thing I’m hearing is the screaming about how BP isn’t letting folks near the spill to take pictures. Scratchy videos are popping up on YouTube as some beleaguered cop turns away yet another wanna-be journalist with an iphone.
Jay has a hazmat clearance, and HE can’t get on site. You most likely don’t know how to properly clean a pelican. You might hurt the pelican. You might hurt yourself. You don’t belong there. You can’t help in this fashion, you don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re just gonna be in the way.
Now, I know that there’s some underhandedness going on. I know BP is doing stuff they’d rather us not see. But I have to have faith that the various professional news agencies, who rely on fearmonging & making deeply uncomfortable nuisances of themselves, will find every scary bad thing they can with which to terrify & enrage us. And they’re better at it, and better connected than you.
I know it sucks. There is no upside to this, aside from changing our behaviour so that we no longer need oil to sustain us. When I was up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, I heard the people there screaming about the wind farms. I thought the windmills were pretty, but that’s just me.
THAT’S the kinda crap that needs to stop. We need more sources of alternative energy, and we need to quit our throwaway culture. (Plastic water bottles, anyone? You know where THOSE come from? Yup. Oil.) You DON’T need every piece of sparkly future-piece-of-landfill geegaw that comes along. You CAN bring a canvas bag with you to pick up some milk. You CAN make a difference.
But screaming “boycott” and impeding the people who are trying to fix this isn’t gonna do it.