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The End of the world as we know it?

June 11, 2010

The End of the world as we know it?
The Gulf oil spill just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s a bit like the Stephen King horror story “The Mist” , people can see the signs of something happening as the menace slowly creeps over the environment yet don’t quite know what to do about it. It’s only when the situation becomes life (and in this case livelihood) threatening that people become activists in the most real sense. Drifting oil will harm and kill wildlife from the Mississippi Delta to the Florida everglades. When the evil sludge starts washing up on Virginia Beach near Washington DC who knows what the blow back will be. Its not Obama’s fault but plenty of opportunists will try to pin it on him and some up for election in November have already started. As for BP their ad hoc approach (building the fire truck while the fire is happening) has probably mortally damaged the bottom line and even the survival of the company. A few years back it launched an advertising program with the banner slogan “beyond petroleum”. The company is not beyond oil with say a serious move to alternate sources of energy or diversification but is ensnared in oil almost as much as the hapless sea creatures suffocating in it are.
I was amused to see star Kevin Costner testifying that the innovative oil mitigation machines he is touting were fobbed off by BP. Somehow he reminded me of Harrison Ford (also starring the doomed River Phoenix) and his cranky ice machine in “Mosquito Coast”. Other schemes seem promising including the powder that when thrown into oil polluted water aggregates into retrievable clumps of tar and sludge. No doubt other novel, even brilliant ideas shall come to the fore but anyone counting on a real- time, quick fix is rather like a terminal cancer patient relying on herbal remedies or the dodgy mysteries of Scientology to bring about an instant cure.
A lot of players are in denial although I don’t blame US President Obama saying he would have fired BP CEO Tony Hayward after he commented that he “wanted his life back” in the face of 11 deaths and counting. Looks like instead of Tony, the BP Chairman is facing the chop in view of his virtual disappearance since the disaster.
I can imagine Gulf state residents barely tolerating a Summer from Hell as they sit bewildered and depressed by environmental and economic catastrophe of epic proportions. I have been to the Florida Everglades and even the late Steve Irwin did his crocodile and alligator wresting stuff in that magic part of the world. Floridians must be catatonic with fear about the coming deluge of Black Death about to beach all around the peninsula of the state and inland in the vulnerable everglades.
It appears that capping the oil is beginning to work and the hard work of picking up the pieces has only begun. Thinking globally and acting locally has never been m ore important. Here the world is watching and hoping for recovery on so many levels.

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