Month 5, Day 3: Sometimes I Hate Writing These Letters

Time Magazine also has a piece on the oil disaster, so they get another version of the letter I sent to Newsweek.

One good thing about a disaster — everybody covers it, so I have no problem finding a hook for a letter.

Frankly, I’d just as soon have to look for hours to find something worth writing about. The latest projections suggest that the Deepwater Horizon spill is going to dwarf the Valdez in another couple of days. Horrible.

The list of recent disasters attendant on fossil fuels is profoundly depressing: a Chinese coal ship fouling the Great Barrier Reef; a mine explosion in West Virginia; the Deepwater Horizon, pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico at accelerating rates, with some projections describing flow equivalent to an Exxon Valdez every two days. And where is that oil coming from? Almost a mile underwater — too deep for divers. The results of this monumental corporate irresponsibility are beyond catastrophic; the Gulf of Mexico will be a petro-Chernobyl for decades to come. Communities and ecosystems are devastated; oyster beds that provided steadily for over a century are already lost. Towns and businesses that depend on fishing are facing death sentences. What will we learn from our latest catastrophe? If we are lucky, we will finally understand that fossil energy is anything but cheap, and that our collective survival depends on getting off our destructive addiction to oil and coal as soon as possible. BP, alas, must now stand for “Broken Planet.”

Warren Senders

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