Monday, May 31, 2010

The official webpage for the Deepwater Horizon Response attempts to bring together institutional stakeholders from corporate and government sectors involved in the giant response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Given the amount of negative publicity that the story of the environmental disaster has generated, attempts to use social network sites like Facebook and Flickr seem oddly out of touch with rhetorical realities.

At the same time that grim images showing the dire effects of oil washing ashore on wildlife have been reaching the front pages, the Flickr page for the official response presents a much more positive set of messages.

Labels: ,


Blogger Jardinero1 said...

I live a mile from Galveston Bay and I am concerned about the Gulf.
I don’t believe that deep water drilling or leaks are the problem. I hope that the rhetoric evolves to the extent that people recognize where the truly lasting damage to the Gulf comes from.

Most of the damage to the Gulf shoreline and eco-system stems from the channelization of rivers and bayous, the creation of jetties and bulkheads, sport fisherman and hunters on boats in the estuaries, the Old River Control Structure, the Army Corp of Engineers, the federal flood insurance program and the various state wind insurance programs in each of the Gulf coastal states.

The state funded insurance programs are the worst offenders since they enable all other development. Elimination of federal flood and state funded wind insurance would do more to restore the Gulf Coast than any other single measure.

The threats which I enumerated are governmentally created and the direct result of political action by people who insist on living in coastal areas, areas where private capital will not fund the improvements necessary for them to live there.

On the other hand, the leak in the gulf is not the result of political action but of a private actor utilizing his own capital. This same private actor faces both tortious and criminal liability for his actions. I feel certain that justice will prevail for him regardless.

Many would rather perseverate on the private actor and the relatively little, long run harm to the environment he does and not own up to the very real, long run, permanent harm, the governmentally created threats I named are doing to the gulf coastal ecosystem.

The Gulf of Mexico is quite big and the spill is relatively quite small. The Gulf of Mexico has 6.43 x 10^17 gallons of water and a total of 2.565 x 10^6 gallons of oil has leaked into it. The ratio of oil to water has increased by 2.5 parts per 10^11. That’s a one followed by eleven zeros. Puny.

The US Gulf shoreline is 1650 miles long, not counting bays and inlets, 16,000 miles counting them in. the actual amount of damaged shoreline is a tiny fraction of one percent. What is not reported in the media is the natural seepage of 20 to 30 million gallons of oil and tar per year, all of which is readily absorbed by the ecosystem in the gulf. This isn't an apologia for BP but meant to put into perspective the damage BP has done compared to the damage we all do collectively through misguided government policies.

It will be interesting to see if the rhetoric shifts to focus on where the long term damage truly comes from.

12:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home