Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eulogy for the Bayou - Blogging the Gulf Oil Spill at The Intersection

My latest guest post over at Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirschenbaum's The Intersection is up, and it begins a series they are working on of the impacts from the oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. I won't give away the other authors, but when all is said and done, it will be some august company to be in.

Down the bayou, fishing, shrimping and oil are ways of life. They get passed from father to son, and generations of families shrimp, trap, fish, and go to the rigs together. For better or worse, they help feed the nation, and with 27% of our petroleum products going through south Louisiana, they fuel our Nation as well.

So as the oil comes ashore in the weeks and months ahead, the losses will be found across the spectrum of ecosystem components. Those dolphins, the shrimp and crabs whose descendents now ply those waters, and the Cajun fishermen and roughnecks who fled that sinking burning rig into the abyss will, and have, already suffered. All in the name of oil – and all in the name of our Nation.

UPDATE (Thursday 6 May 2010):

Joe Romm, continuing his fine service to the Nation at Climate Progress, shares this study on human dimensions and impacts of the oil spill:

We are in uncharted waters with this disaster. Sadly, it is likely to become an exemplary case study in how badly people and communities can be injured by an oil spill and its response. Experience with oil spills inside and outside the United States demonstrates that oil spills produce dramatic consequences for people’s lives. To better prepare for responding to spills, it is wise to learn from experience and be pro-active about planning for how to deal with impacts to humans. Hopefully, a broad understanding of the human dimensions of oil spill hazards can help these responders make wise decisions.


Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Once again, We Dah Peepil have been forced to face an ugly reality head on. Once again we are confronted by a situation so horrific, we ignore its implications at our own peril. And once again it appears that many of us will continue to turn a blind eye toward the obvious: Our dependence on oil - foreign and domestic - will prove to be our undoing if we don't get to work immediately and try to develop alternative sources of fuel. What the hell is it with our abhorrence of common sense? What we have here is black comedy at its strangest. Someone remarked this morning of the gulf, "It smells like a gas station now." Fill 'er up? Forty years ago, the Cayahuga, the river which makes its way through Cleveland, Ohio, became so polluted it caught fire. Could this happen in the Gulf of Mexico? Stay tuned.

Seriously, sometimes I get the feeling that I'm living in a world whose scenario was scripted by Paddy Chayefsky. These really are the weirdest of times, aren't they?

Tom Degan

Philip H. said...

Tom, Thanks for stopping by. I agree that we're missing opportunities in this arena, and I've written before that it gauls me that, if (for example) Carbon Capture and Sequestration can ever be made to work, it is the Chinese who will hold the patents. So much lost opportunity cost, nevermind the ecological cost.