Month 6, Day 18: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Newsweek has an article on the “Environmental Legacy of the Oil Spill,” discussing the aftereffects of a 400,000 gallon spill off the coast of Chile, thirty-six years ago. I used it as the hook for a pretty standard screed.

It’s good to know that decades after a huge oil spill off the Chilean coast, the affected areas are showing “signs of life.” And perhaps, decades from now, the shattered ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico will show some signs of life, too. Right now, however, with oil spewing from the ocean floor before mixing with toxic dispersant, we are finally learning some crude facts about the poisonous stuff that’s powered our nation’s addiction. Oil is dirty. It’s dirty when you take it out of the ground, it’s dirty when you move it from place to place, it’s dirty when you process it, and it’s dirty when you burn it. The slimy legacy of Reagan-era corporate deregulation is now washing ashore on Louisiana’s beaches, and it’s forcing us to face the simple truth: whether or not we know how, we must change our relationship with oil — because it’s killing us.

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 4: Time For An Intervention?

The Boston Herald ran an AP story on Obama’s recent words about our national addiction to oil. My response:

President Obama is correct. America’s behavior when faced with the fact of our national dependence on oil is that of an addict confronting unpleasant truths. Fact: burning oil adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Fact: BP (and other oil companies as well) are demonstrably incompetent when it comes to disaster response. Fact: sooner or later, we will have burned all the oil there is to burn. Fact: thousands of smaller spills all over the world have devastated local communities and ecosystems. Fact: much of our oil comes from countries that (to put it mildly) don’t have America’s best interests at heart. Each of these truths is a good reason for a huge national initiative to shift us off oil within the decade. Taken together, they are irrefutable, yet it seems that the country that gave us “a giant leap for mankind” has become the country of “we can’t do it — it’s too hard.”

Warren Senders