Friday, June 04, 2010

Facing South

On Monday in this space, we looked west and showed you pretty pictures of bright sunshine, sparkling waters, and pristine beaches. Today, with heavy hearts, we turn our eyes to the south and show you some of the ghastly images coming out of coastal Louisiana. All three of these photos are by Charlie Riedel, Associated Press and are dated June 3. The top two are on the front page of this morning's Washington Post; the third is in an online photo gallery of images going all the way back to early May.

Had we the power, we'd award Mr. Riedel with a Pulitzer Prize this instant for so compellingly documenting the ecological horror unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. These are images that arrest the eye and perhaps the heart. One's first reaction is likely disbelief: This can't be real. I am looking at stills from some cheesy dinosaur flick. Slowly the truth sinks in: This is real, and the oil is still gushing, BP's optimism about last night's "Top Hat" maneuver notwithstanding . . . . The question, of course, is whether such images can stir the conscience of a nation that thinks "Drill, baby, drill" is a perfectly fine energy policy.

Our world, darlings -- Welcome to it. Or is it BP's world and we are just gas-guzzling guests? Surely that isn't the case. We can't permit ourselves to gaze at these pictures and become depressed, use them as an excuse to become further mired in the muck of our own lassitude: Oh, dear, what can I do? I'm just one little person. I can't save all those birds! Go read our pal Margaret Swedish over at Spirituality and Ecological Hope for some thoughtful analysis of the Deepwater crisis and its implications for our politics and our ways of life.

One little person can't save the world, but that doesn't mean you get to opt out of thinking or trying. Up and at it, ye righteous citizens of Petro Nation. We've got one helluva mess to clean up. Pass me the Dawn, and let's get started.


  1. Did you see BP's full page ad in the Post too? A taxi driver in Wales was speculating whether they will be able to survive this. I don't know how likely or unlikely their survival is. I want them to fix it now -- and as you say, Rox, then what?

  2. Yes. It's revolting. BP has a whole website devoted to its heroic efforts to clean up the mess it made. Even more revolting. No links here, but it's easy to find.

  3. dudley the beagle9:31 AM EDT

    If corporations are persons, as the fools on SCOTUS insist, and if we feel that certain crimes are sufficient to justify putting persons to death, shouldn't BP be, um, terminated?

    BTW, the BP station near Greenbelt has removed the "BP" but the green and yellow logo (flower? sun?) remains in place.

    The human considers this ironic, since the station had previously been Citgo and back then had had the lowest prices in the area.

  4. Dudley's human10:49 AM EDT

    Roxie, if you'll forgive me for posting an article link on your blog, Diane Wilson, a shrimp fisherwoman, has a most eloquent commentary on what's happening in the Gulf. Her people have been on the receiving end of corporate greed and corruption for a very long time.

  5. Forgive you? Dudley, dear, it's a blog! We rely upon our legions of loyal readers for links to other cool and interesting things happening on the Interwebs. And that is a most eloquent commentary you laid your paws on. Thanks for passing it along.

    Regarding BP gas stations, how do we feel about boycotting them? Will that hurt the small business owners who run the stores without really touching the oil company, or is it important to make the effort anyway?


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