April 20, 2010


Oil hits the marshes in the Mississippi delta. Photo: Reuters

 This is the first of three posts on this disaster.  

First, April 20, 2010 may well be remembered as a day when things changed in powerful and unexpected ways.  For one thing the explosion killed 11 workers.  Then, it set off a huge torrent of oil which has spewed forth for over five weeks (as I write this).  This is very disturbing, even horrifying.   It’s putting millions of gallons of oil and gas into the water. 

For one thing, that area of the country has already had plenty of trouble from Hurricane Katrina.  In its way, this may be nearly as bad or  even worse.  There may be less immediate human death than in the hurricane.  But in the long run, it could prove to be just as devastating.  

I’m concerned about it upsetting the ecosystem and biodiversity.  The loss of the wetlands  may well lead to stronger and deadlier hurricanes.   

There’s plenty that can go wrong and they still haven’t even stopped the underwater gusher from gushing.   

Like Daniel Schorr said in his NPR commentary last Saturday:  “Well, it’s become kind of cataclysmic. I mean, we’ve had hurricanes. We’ve had tornadoes. We’ve had floods. And this hovers over America as one of the worst things ever happened to this country. ”    

Second, there are still some of us who are truly, madly, deeply, wildly, passionately in love with the Earth itself.  We glory in the plants, bugs, fish, birds, animals and other lifeforms.  We embrace clean air, water, rock and soil.  To us, the boundary between humanity and this Earth is  very small.  It’s all one.  We are the Earth and the Earth is us.  

When something like this oil explosion occurs, it seems similar to a human body which is diseased or failing.  If he’d taken care of himself, he wouldn’t be so sick.  If we’d taken care of the world, it wouldn’t be so sick.  

Fools and dullards pooh-pooh the floods of oil and global warming.  They think it’s a fiction or something to laugh about.  Yet when it all hits the fan, they’ll laugh out the other side of their mouths.  

The “tree-huggers” and the “spotted owl crowd” may yet have the last laugh.  There’s nothing funny about this, but a strong sense of humor is a good antidote against fanaticism, smallmindedness and despair.  Other partial antidotes include loving hearts, a true sense of poetry and a perversely defiant optimism.  We need all the resources and defenses that we can muster. 

The “greedheads” think they rule the Earth.  Money is their only glory.  They sense that their power is so great that they can control the very earth, slap it around and suck out its blood!  The Earth is more than just a vast storehouse of resources to plunder.  It’s our home. 

Most animals have the sense not to foul their own nests!  

Some things are inexcusable and unforgivable.  Who was it who spoke of being willing to give a thousand worlds to change some disaster which would have taken a pittance to prevent?  

There is far too much which cannot be changed or prevented.  We’re running out of time.  The companies and forces who caused this latest disaster must be held to full account.  We need to find alternative means of energy and minimize reliance on coal and gas.  

If this horror helps bring about the downfall of our oil addiction and leads us to a sensible way of living, then it wouldn’t be a total loss.  

It’s time to wake up and this is (yet another) painfully sad wake up call!  If we’re to change the relationship between humanity and its Earth, we all have important parts to play. 

If it’s a drama, the stakes are high.  It’s life or death for the human being and for this watery globe, on which we live.  



This is an excellent statement Another Paradise Lost from Penelope Rosemont and The Surrealist Movement in the United States.  The Surrealist website seems to be down.  I found the statement here at ProximityMagazine. 


PS that quote I was trying to recall was by the great Edward Young, author of Night Thoughts:

“Who would not give a trifle to prevent what he would give a thousand worlds to cure.”

to be continued….


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