One can say – nothing; we say – everything. There are probably millions of us around the planet, aghast, upset and worried about the amount of devastation caused by Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Our technological incompetence in face of true catastrophes, the loss of lives, both human and marine, strips away the temporary narcissist faith in our control over the universe.
oil spill_2We were celebrating the Earth Day with our company in our small town, when the news reached media, 41 years after the 1969 Santa Barbra oil spill, which contributed to founding Earth Day itself. Together with number of local organic farms, businesses and organizations, we were acknowledging the accomplished progress in protection of the environment. The oil spill put a different perspective on that – are we really moving forward? There are some, like British The Dark Mountain movement, which see this civilization already past the point of return. As much as unreal this seems – look at the gone ancient cultures: ancient China, the pyramids, the Coliseum in ruins. Civilizations do rise and fall and mostly they destroy themselves.
Nature and our relationship to it are worth a double look each day. Acts of nature are often unpredictable, acts against nature are not. Drilling through 5,000 feet of water and then 13,000 feet of rock are acts of greed, arrogance and unfounded confidence in the superiority of our technical knowledge and equipment. There is nowhere else to point the fingers than ourselves. Our blind love of oil, which Dana Lyons sings about in “Lubricate the Red, White and Blue” feeds 97% of our cars, trucks and plains. When we walk around in conveniently non-wrinkly, easy to wash polyester derived directly from oil, carry our oil derived shopping bags, we condone the price of the event like this one over and over again.
We have reached the state of the illusionary technical expertise which cannot answer the most basic question: “How do you reverse it back to the way things were?” We are so smart combining the chains of polymers but once synthesized, we don’t know how to degrade them. We can split an atom but we have never figured it out how to put it back together. We feed our children Genetically Modified foods, ignoring all the warnings. We give the free ticket to mad scientists to combine plant DNA with fish DNA, spike our soy, corn, wheat, sugar with cancer producing insecticide molecules and most of the time don’t even know it and don’t ask. There is no one on earth able to reverse the loss of 96% of our soy, large percentage of cotton and corn to GMO crops. Most of us don’t even know that we are not eating food anymore, we are eating the largest science experiment in history of humanity, only called “food”. Our grandchildren will tell us if we gambled right. In a meantime, we observe with astonishment the rising of illnesses, “food” intolerances, rash and eczema where our chemical laden clothes touch the skin. Just like when Chernobyl blows up, when drilling rig explodes, we look with surprise at damage created, saddened and always clueless how to reverse it.
At this point there are no perfect solutions, only compromises but first, it is crucial to recover our lost reverence to nature, our respect for natural resources. We need these for thousands more years. Maybe we should not drill the hole if we don’t know how to plug it. A petroleum engineer involved in the spill supposedly said in a radio interview “It just seems like every now and then, you can’t win against Mother Nature.” Correction – you can never win against the Mother Nature. That’s not the direction we want to keep going.
Please, keep doing your part in taking steps, no matter how small or challenging they might be in supporting the eco-friendly efforts and groups which try hard to not work against Mother Nature. We are in it together.