A long time ago I wrote that, under the Neo-Con Administration of Dick Cheney, satire writers were forced to admit they had become superfluous. After all, I argued at the time, what was the point of satire when the truth’s that were beginning to finally becoming apparent…the Valerie Plame thing, the torture thing, the Cheney shooting a guy in face thing, Conservative Christian Gay Military Prostitute White House Reporter thing (whew) and all the rest…were so much weirder and funnier than any lie we could ever think up? Now we’re becoming superfluous again, but for a different reason- now what’s happening is just not funny and to try and joke about the potential total destruction of 615,000 square miles of a part of the Atlantic Ocean and thousands of miles of surrounding shoreline for a start, is just perverse and heartless.
While no one I’ve heard of had postulated the potential for this particular bio-disaster…a seemingly unstoppable oil well leak 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not like humans are so stupid that we never realized it, or something just as bad or worse, could happen. We’ve had our Chernobyl’s and Three Mile Island’s, our Exxon Valdez’s and shrinking of the Aral Sea, burning of the Cuyahoga River. We’ve already got anaconda’s and Asian carps in our waters and have slashed and burned nearly two thirds of the Amazon rain forest. Of course we should have worried with all the precedents. We’ve been causing environmental disasters on a monumental scale for more than 150 years now. But as a species we really just don’t care.
Each disaster is viewed as a ‘local’ phenomena, at least relatively speaking. Did we in the US care that Russia killed 26,000 square miles of sea in Kazakhstan? Except worrying that fallout could reach us, were we concerned about Chernobyl in the Ukraine? Are the Chinese, aside from concern over crude oil prices, worrying much about the Gulf of Mexico? Aside from a few ‘tree-huggers’ the answer is a resounding: No.
And even now, probably as vast majority of the world’s population won’t care about this either, except as I said, in an economic sense. We’re at the top of the food chain you see, so everything else lower down is less important than we are. But when you destroy the food chain you’re finally faced with the problem of, ‘What do those at the top eat?’
I wonder what the ‘Drill Baby, Drill’ contingent is thinking these days. Are they wondering if they made a mistake or just figuring out a way to blame it on Obama? They’re already blaming the Administration’s handling of a crisis that up until April 19th they swore our government had no business being involved in…namely, big business. One idiot said the BP spill is actually the fault of the environmentalists- if the Greenies hadn’t pushed drilling so far off-shore, then we could’ve fixed this more easily.
For them, it’s not a result of Dick Cheney’s secret, energy company crafted, ‘National Energy Policy’, a strategy designed not to decrease the nation’s oil consumption but to maintain the status quo by drilling more oil in protected areas of this country. It’s not about the weakening of governmental oversight by two oilmen in the Whitehouse. No. For them, this ‘Obama’s Katrina’, a way to remove a president they don’t like.
See? I just did it too. I made environmental disaster a political issue. How perverse and depressing. Cheney did what he did, BP did what they did, the Russians, Brazilians and nearly every other nation with natural resources have done what they’ve done too. And it’s all of our faults, the Tea Party, the GOP, the Democrats, Liberals and Libertarians, the Communists and whatever other political and religious philosophy we follow. And yes, I suppose, even the Environmentalists. It’s humanity’s fault. Rich nations want to keep what they’ve already got and poor nations want what the rich ones already have. It’s the Human Way. Hunt the wooly mammoth to extinction, kill the bison for fun, blast the mountains for gold or coal or whatever, foul the water with waste. Just give us what we want. Drill Baby, Drill.
I consider myself an environmentalist. No an off the grid Hippie, but by weight and volume I recycle more than I throw away, compost organically, only buy new when I’m forced to. The house I’m building is geo-thermal and uses a lot of recycled components. But it’s my fault too. I smoke cigarettes, my old Jeep is a gas guzzler and it’ll be years before I can afford to replace it. I like computers, cell phones and television. I also probably do a hundred other things that I don’t even realize are bad for the planet. We all do, even the Greenest of us.
I don’t know; maybe this Gulf Spill will make us finally stop and think about what we’ve done and will continue to do unless we change our fundamental nature of greed and desire for more, but right now I’m not too hopeful. The true solutions, now that we’ve come this far, may be too extreme to contemplate. We’ll have to give up too much that we don’t need but want. We’d have to work together as a planet, which means giving up political beliefs, war, religion and creature comforts for the sake of the greater good. We won’t do that. Better to destroy ourselves first, along with the Earth as we know it, than do something as extreme as that.
And anyway, once we’re gone, the planet will eventually heal itself and those of us that are left can start again. Who knows, maybe that’s the way God, if there is one, planned it. I’m just personally grateful I got see some of what it used to be like before it was gone forever and with any luck will be dead before that happens.