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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
One year later, Boston.com has an excellent photo essay exploring the lingering devastation of the tragic BP disaster:
What is the cost of spilling almost five million barrels of oil into the ocean? How do you measure that cost? In GDP reduction? In lives affected? In environmental impact? And how do you measure the cost when long-term effects are impossible to calculate yet, and when a significant portion of the spilled oil is still unaccounted for? One year since the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded, killing 11 workers, there are measurable effects, and many more unknowns.
The stirring collection of photos includes several then-and-now pictures, comparing conditions in the immediate aftermath of the spill to those of today:
One of the first things one notices about the photos above is the dreary lack of color resulting from the erosion of the shore and the mass destruction of the marsh grasses and mangrove trees. The once thriving marshland of the fragile coastal ecosystem has been utterly devastated by the spill and the myriad chemical dispersants released afterwards. Dead dolphins and sea turtles continue to wash up on the shores of the Gulf coast, and the remnants of oil are still to be found virtually everywhere.
Don’t let the apparent lack of oil in the latter photo fool you: there is still plenty of oil throughout the Gulf. Fishermen and shrimpers continue to pull up nets filled with oil, and animals and sea creatures of all kind are still routinely seen covered in the stuff. Although any particular stretch of land may, at first glance, appear to be free of oil, it is often lurking just beneath the surface, waiting for the slightest touch or step to disturb it. And the health effects are continuing to mount for those who live in the region, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for years to come.
The BP disaster is far from over, even if the corporate media fails to cover its lingering destruction. As discussed at great length here, the MSM exists mainly as a tool to maintain the status quo, and therefore has absolutely no interest in covering stories which challenge the corporatocracy or provide any sort of educational service to the largely ignorant masses.
Just think for a moment what accurate coverage of the BP disaster would entail. It would have to be made known just how reckless BP and other energy giants have been in their pursuit of oil at all costs. The government’s complicity in allowing them to operate in utter disregard of basic safety protocols would have to be made public, as well as the government’s inability – or unwillingness – to enforce health precautions during the trecherous cleanup period. BP unleashed thousands upon thousands of gallons of toxic chemical dispersants into the Gulf, and absolutely no one has any idea what the long-term consequences will be.
But the implications are even more profound, because the most crucial issue at the core of all of this is our enduring addiction to oil and other toxic fossil fuels. Our endless military campaigns throughout the Middle East are but one obvious manifestation of this addiction; the drilling of more and more dangerous oil wells in the Gulf is another, and indicates just how destructive this addiction has become.
We need to ween ourselves off the oil, folks, because it is killing us in more ways than we can imagine. Ordinary people realize innately that we can’t remain hooked on fossil fuels indefinitely: even if one disbelieves the reality of climate change, it is common sense that fossil fuels are not in infinite supply. One day – probably sooner than most people realize – we will run out altogether. Long before that day comes the more easily accessibly supplies will run dry, and the environmental destruction wrought by attempting to harvest these more and more remote reserves will increase drastically, likely dwarfing even the as now unprecedented BP catastrophe.
The time for the Green Revolution has long since arrived, and it is our obligation as conscientious citizens to make decisions that work towards that end. If spent a fraction of our military budget on research and development of renewable energy, we could likely be almost entirely off oil within a decade. The solution is there, waiting; we merely lack the motivation to sieze it.