Saturday, May 29, 2010

BP's Hayward "...a very significant environmental crisis and catastrophe."

In an interview with the UK Guardian two weeks ago, BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, described the spill as "tiny" relative to the size of the gulf.
Today, he drastically scaled upwards his assessment of the spill. He told CNN: "This is clearly an environmental catastrophe. There is no two ways about it. It's clear that we are dealing with a very significant environmental crisis and catastrophe."
Wow, who knew?
Read the UK Guardian article.

This past week, Greg Moses wrote a terrific piece for CounterPunch titled "Oil Wars Come Home to Roost." Here is the opening:
Even the birds are pissed.  Whether it’s the Mockingbird who guards the footpath down by the bus stop.  Or the Blue Jay who cusses across my back deck.  Or even the frigging Grackle who buzzed me early morning at the grocery-store parking lot.  This week I‘m a Hitchcock player and these birds come straight for my neck.

AP says 333 birds have been found dead along the Gulf Coast with no oil on them.  Well, the birds I know are telling me what their fellows died from.  The lead weight of grief.  As if the oil companies hadn’t wrecked every other week this century.  As if this must be nothing but the century of dirty oil.  Suddenly the oil wars have come home to roost and there is nothing to do about it except what everybody else has done who gets smacked by this dark force of history.  You just stand there and cry.

It’s like shock and awe bounced back off the dark side of the moon.  All the wealth and brains and power of the mighty American empire sucked into a vacuum of arrogant corruption and relayed back to earth in the form of a blob that will not be stopped until the death of it all finally sinks in.  You call this stinking mess democracy?
Read his - short - article.

I was struck with his passionate anger and emailed him:
Hello Greg Moses,
I've enjoyed both your Counterpunch articles this week. The article, "Oil Wars Come Home to Roost" was great: short, passionate, direct...and unafraid of your pain and anger. Almost unAmerican of you!
I'd like to interview you on my radio show....

He emailed me back:
Thank you...however, I can't even begin to imagine talking about the death of our beloved Gulf of Mexico without crying out loud.  I'm afraid I could only supply rather pathetic conversation right now....
Yes, if Greg cried on the show I'd cry too. We'd have a cry-fest...which is what the whole country needs: to howl, scream, cry, rage, cry, cry, cry....
The Gulf is a fast moving catastrophe made to look 'manageable' by the criminals who perpetrated the crime. This is one result of the thinking that Grover Norquist represents: "government small enough to drown in the bathtub." Except government -- that is, run with the little guy's tax dollars that are too few for education, health care, community care -- will be enough to pay for this ongoing corporate crime/tragedy.

As an aside, there is also a slow moving tragedy-in-the-making in rural South Africa -- where I grew up -- as it undergoes massive industrialization.
Long story that will unfold over the next months but, summarized, the Outer West zone of the municipality eTekwini -- home to SA's largest cargo port, Durban -- has been earmarked for industry, "dry dock," and to house the many freight trucks that upset Durban's residents. (Yes, there, same as here, we use diesel/oil instead of trains for freight. And, remember, this was once a British colony and the Brits built train track everywhere they went.) Instead of assessing what could be done differently to minimize the problem in Durban, the municipality is expanding its area of operations. So, besides the fallout from the manganese smelter, Assmang Cato Ridge Works that we have been subjected to for six decades, and the criminal spills of toxic mercury that continue to dibble into rivers from the days of UK's  transnational manufacturer Thor Chemicals... the area will soon have the world's largest landfill, but not a fill, instead it'll be a pyramid that goes into the sky on the edge of a windblown escarpment! Plus, all sorts of other industries. Learn more at the Cato Ridge Environmental Coalition blog.

A cry-fest is long overdue. Then a real workable cross-cultural, trans-national, apolitical, non-U.S.-centric enforceable agreement for a sustainable way of life. Sure, we Americans may have to cut back on privileges -- for example, spending money on junk food like the currently vastly over-promoted "Hotpockets" and all the other forms of edibles that have little to do with solid nutrition and everything to do with profit.
Hey, wouldn't that bring down the epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, obesity...which also means the cost of health care?
My god, a win/win among the tarballs!

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