The Earth Bleeds Out

If only the words “back from whence ye came” could really have magical powers and plug the mortal wound we have inflicted upon the Gulf of Mexico (and soon her bigger cousin, the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Coastline). Whilst our human brains convince us over and over again that we are above nature, can outsmart her, or take over her services, she shows us again and again the error in our ways. From Katrina, to Taiwan, to Haiti and many more, Mother Nature is an unrelenting and all-powerful presence in our lives. This shouldn’t be seen as an unwelcomed presence – far too often we seem to run away from nature, when we are, in fact, of nature and in nature.

I have been avoiding writing about the Gulf Disaster because it seems pretty well covered: it’s everywhere, whether you read it, watch it, or listen to it. However, I couldn’t resist promoting this incredibly moving image tool: What would the oil disaster look like if it was centered over your home? Check it out for me here in Seattle: (Thanks to nef’s Triple Crunch Blog for first showing me this site)

Gush Forth! Oh, Mighty Earth!

Imagine this were true: the largest populated area in the Pacific Northwest would be almost entirely covered in oil, even up over the Canadian border. They’re our allies, but I can’t imagine they’d be happy with that type of sharing. All of the Olympic Rainforest and National Park would be dripping wet with crude. Lake Chelan would be filled with black gold. As far south as Centralia and stretching over the many islands of the Puget Sound – all wiped out by BP’s greed for a fossil fuel. Good-bye Orcas! good-bye Salmon! Audios watersheds, fisheries, and my beautiful hometown.

They seem completely incapable of stopping the leak (some wonder if they won’t be able to do it or it might wait until Christmas). Personally, I think it is motivation to sell your car, ride your bike, and vote for a constitutional amendment outlawing corporate personhood (had this occurred prior to 1886, the government could have liquidated BP’s assets to cover everything and thrown everyone involved in jail).

All of this is the direct result of our lust for oil. We are destroying the largest fishery in the US (something like 70% of our shellfish and 30% of all our seafood comes from the Gulf), destroying priceless natural capital. For what? BP’s giant profits. This won’t finish them unless we take them to court, and even that is doubtful to have a large, positive result within a decade. At least the local economy will get a bump in GDP while everyone rushes down there to clean it up, right?

What do you think of the developments down there?

14 thoughts on “The Earth Bleeds Out”

  1. Wow, sobering stuff.

    I’d forgotten you’re in Seattle. If you’re ever in Wallingford, pop in and say hi to my friend Mark. He runs the Kuma Coffee Shop on Stone Way N.

    1. Jeremy,

      Thanks for the comment and the good word on Make Wealth History! Yea, I stumbled upon this site through nef’s triple crunch blog (oops, forgot to thank them, I’ll update that!). I love what you’ve done with the site, by the way.

      I’ll have to make a trip down to Kuma Coffee and say hi to your buddy Mark. I love the Wallingford area (lived there for 3 years). If you’re ever in Seattle visiting we’ll have to grab a cup of Joe together and head down to Gas Works Park.


  2. Unforunately, coporate personhood barely begins to describe it- corporations behave more like small, unruly gods, and it causes a lot of trouble for the mortals they see as their supplicants.

    1. Max,

      That is a wonderful way of describing it! It reminds me of the novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman for some reason (perhaps because it’s one of my favorite novels). I think the “unruly god” part is spot-on. Anyway, great words.


  3. Also, thanks for the great infographic. Maybe if the headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute here in DC were at the epicenter of that big dark patch on the map, there’d be less moral indifference to how we fuel global society.

    1. Yea, add the American Petroleum Institute to the list. What list? You know, the list (of wrong doers, liers, cheats, deniers, and general no-gooders).


  4. Joshua,

    You know, a lot of my friends are diehard Gaiman fans, and what I’ve read of his work, I’ve liked, so I think I’ll have to add that to my pile of books to read.

    Also, I love getting your tweets and blog posts. Keep it up!

    1. Max,

      Thanks! Glad you like it all! Sometimes it can run me down, but it’s been a great ride overall. Always helps to hear it’s well-received! Thanks for commenting, too!


  5. Hi Jeremy,

    Mark here from Kuma Coffee! Thanks so much for thinking about us all the way from half way around the world. Congrats on the wedding and marriage and hapiness. Look me up anytime and the coffee is on me!

  6. Hi Joshua,

    couldn´t agree more with the blog. I think there are some very obvious lessons to be drawn here. Some of the ones which have been overlooked are:
    a) similarly dangerous oil exploitation projects in the global south are often justified on the basis that ‘best practice’ standards in developed countries will be applied, yet this case shows how corporations can gradually erode standards and regulations over time.
    b) The fact that BP still refuse to genuinely accept responsibility for the incident is telling, and could be interpreted as a tacit confession that oil companies cannot guarantee against this type of disaster.
    c) Most importantly, the relationship between peak oil, or rather, the exhaustion of conventional low risk supplies, and increased levels of risk. It´s clear that remaining oil reserves will not only require greater financial and energy inputs to extract them (something which is ever creating upward pressure on oil prices) they will also come with greater levels of environmental risk, either at a local level or globally (think the tar sands or Venezuela´s ultra-heavy crude).
    At Due South we´re looking at some of the wider lessons of this disaster,, come along and check us out!

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