by Tommy + Danny
On the morning of April 22nd, two days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and exploded, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashley Butler told CNN that oil began flowing out of ruptures in a well on the ocean floor. I’ve been mind numbingly worried / depressed / obsessed with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the economic / environmental implications for now and the future. I’m particularly bummed that there seems to be a lot of hand-wringing and “tests” and “study,” but not a lot of action. You know when all that careful thought-planning would have been helpful? Before a single fucking drill went into the seafloor. Given the fact that today BP’s “top kill” method is set to hopefully (but not likely to) plug up the hole (and, in fact, might make it worse), I thought it could be helpful if Danny and I mined the internet for some oil spill related links and looked at ways we could help out locally.
The Oil Drum has a good explanation of how the “top kill” method — shooting a mud mixture down the pipeline to overcome the flow pressure — should work, complete with diagrams and this handy YouTube video:
If you’re a masochist, check out this widget, courtesy of PBS, where you can see in realtime the amount of oil spewing into the ocean #endofdays and using Google Earth you can see how the oil spill would look mapped on your home town!
Here’s a really fucking depressing photo collection from the Huffington Post, with such gems as
Here’s the live spillcam, at least where it’s supposed to be. For some reason the page is now curiously blank . . . Thankfully, Mother Jones has posted videos that capture some of the worst of the oil blooms. Speaking of Mother Jones, here’s an article about why the video feed is blank today. Why so camera shy, BP? [update, you can watch on the NYtimes blog here] Ugh, and here’s this MJ article about the media blackout on Louisiana beaches. BP is actually still in denial that it’s oil, calling it “red tide, dishwashing-liquid runoff, or mud.” Speaking of BP, here’s a hilarious twitter account that’s not to be missed — “BPGlobalPR” (thanks Justin)
Here’s a grim prediction by the Weather Channel about the transportation of oil, via the Gulf’s loop current, to the Florida Keys and beyond:
Now that I’ve done a sufficient job of doomsdaying, I’m going to hand you off to Danny for some good news? Maybe? (ps don’t forget about Brooklyn’s own ongoing oil spill in Greenpoint!!!)
So the thing about Doomsday is that it’s always already on the horizon. This is, as Mama Sontag notes, a modern phenomenon and largely a rhetorical one: “Modern life accustoms us to live with the intermittent awareness of monstrous, unthinkable — but, we are told, quite probable — disasters.” In the midst of such confusing and paradoxical media coverage (has trying to comprehend the scope of the oil spill made you dizzy?), Tommy has asked me to remind you of some of the simple actions that can be made on a local level in response to the spill:
If you eat meat (and there’s no convincing you to do otherwise), then consider eating seafood sourced from the Gulf States; it’s more sustainable than imported farmed shrimp and helps keep the economies that support this industry functional. Food & Water Watch’s Smart Seafood Locator is a good resource if you’re wondering where to start.
If you drive a motorized vehicle, then don’t use fuel from BP or its retail brands, the corporation responsible for the spill. Better yet, STOP DRIVING.
Matter of Trust is not currently accepting donations of hair, but they are in need of more recycled nylons.
If you have a few extra dollars, then donate to the National Wildlife Foundation, or another similar organization, and help rescue animals endangered by the spill.
Continue to demand that New York senators, Kirsten E Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, support climate and clean energy legislation. Or, consider adding yr name to any one of these petitions.
Finally, and most importantly, stay informed and let us know of any ways that you come up with to help clean up. It is, no doubt, hard to say how effectual any one method, small or grand, will be in combating such a catastrophe; however, the more we acknowledge it, the more likely we’ll deal with the problem.