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