The Gulf Deepwater Oil Spill

I haven’t written about it until now, becuase it’s been too horrible to think about. I still have no words to articulate how I feel about this massive disaster.

The news out of the Gulf continues to range from grim to grimmer. Recently, it was revealed that the spill has created an undersea plume of oil ten miles long, and that some of the oil has already entered the loop current and is being carried toward Florida. Then the federal government doubled the area of the Gulf that had been closed to fishing. On Friday, the government increased that area again, to forty-eight thousand square miles. President Barack Obama has called the spill a “massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster,” a characterization that, if anything, probably understates the case. ~ The New Yorker

I think the pictures say it all.

Here is the feed showing oil gushing from the bottom of the ocean:

But the following should be an even clearer conclusion from all that has happened, and that is still unfolding: This is what the end of the oil age looks like. The cheap, easy petroleum is gone; from now on, we will pay steadily more and more for what we put in our gas tanks—more not just in dollars, but in lives and health, in a failed foreign policy that spawns foreign wars and military occupations, and in the lost integrity of the biological systems that sustain life on this planet.

The only solution is to do proactively, and sooner, what we will end up doing anyway as a result of resource depletion and economic, environmental, and military ruin: end our dependence on the stuff. Everybody knows we must do this. Even a recent American president (an oil man, it should be noted) admitted that “America is addicted to oil.” Will we let this addiction destroy us, or will we overcome it? Good intentions are not enough. Now is the moment for the President, other elected officials at all levels of government, and ordinary citizens to make this our central priority as a nation. We have hard choices to make, and an enormous amount of work to do. ~ Post Carbon Institute


  1. We are poised (uncomfortably) upon the horns of a dilemma. I expect that our leaders see it. And a few people like yourself and other readers of your blog also see is.

    But the majority don’t.

    The really scary part is how hard it is to make anyone actually understand even the very basic outline of the problem. I strike this all of the time. People who’s intellectual ability extends only to thinking things like: “if we just drove electric cars instead it would all be fine”.

    Where to even begin with someone who’s thinking is so simplistic? Oil is here to stay. Therefore, so it the inevitable environmental disaster.

    Personally I am hoping that human society experiences a “fast crash” sometime soon. Ultimately I expect that it will be a better fate for most than a long slow decline with accelerating environmental catastrophes. It will certainly be better for every other living thing on the planet.

    Humanity’s future depends on biodiversity (meaning a rich gene pool of plants and animals that can sustain a healthy eco system for us to live in). Poison, destroy, and eat enough of the natural world and all 6.9 billion of us will be left living in a shattered waste land, wondering how to grow our next meal. That’s the future of a slow decline. It just gives us a chance to finish destroying what little is left of the natural world. And all the while people will be saying “but we have to [cut down the last tree, catch the last fish etc] because human life is too precious!

    Bah. We are far too self absorbed and it will be our undoing (and everything else’s).

    1. I’m feeling exactly the same way these days. It’s all decidedly gloomy and I almost can’t bear to watch what is going on in the world these days.

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