Saturday, May 11, 2013

Illusion of Individuality pt. 5


It was a gorgeous day out and on this 420 you had spent the bulk of the day smoking grass, biking around town, and occasionally popping into a pub to get out of the sun and have a beer and cool off. You had to swing home and let out the dogs and take a minute before you headed back out in search of a show to catch later that night.
The rabbit ears hooked up to the TV had been working fairly well lately and having a seat and watching the evening news sounded like a perfect way to kill a little time, smoke a little more, and see if anything had happened that the news deemed worthy of reporting. And there was, a few shootings in town and another accident on one of those oilrigs in the gulf. 
The fire on the rig was pretty bad as these things go; the rig was listing and might be a total loss as well as the ten or so deaths from the explosion. You just had to shake your head, somehow this would be written off as business as usual… a disruption in productivity, a lawsuit by the families of the deceased followed by a hefty settlement and maybe a footnote addressing the negligible impact of a giant oil rig being scuttled to the ocean floor followed by some P.R. propaganda about how it will ultimately be beneficial as it will turn into a coral reef or some other nonsense like that. Enh, screw it. Nothing you can do to change it now. You talk a toke and make a mental note to toast a shot to the sea creatures.
Three months later, there is yet another full color photo of either the wellhead still gushing oil, shrimp boats laden with that ghastly orange boom, or dead & dying critters and tar balls covering some stretch of the thousands of miles of coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. After 90 straight days of total media inundation about the regional environmental apocalypse it was hard to get out of bed in the morning many days. It had been two or three weeks since the last time you were able to small the chemical odor wafting from the south but that was no real comfort. The millions of gallons of crude and chemical dispersants were already making some fishermen-turned-clean-up-crew sick. 
And that was just from immediate contact from working on the water. It might be years before some of the really nasty effects started to show. Even the Times Picayune was keen on the science that forecast potentially horrifying consequences of dumping that quantity of harmful chemicals into the Gulf. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico support the base of life systems for an entire corner of the globe and the long-term ramifications of this even boggled your mind. Add to that the economic power the oil and gas industries have in region, and not only will the environmental effects be downplayed, but any meaningful accountability will most likely go unassigned, plus any meaningful change or litigation will undoubtedly never happen. And the fisheries are still closed and the well is still leaking.
This great and unstoppable threat of a poisonous soup bleeding up the food chain for years to come will continue to haunt your soul, for no matter where you run from this point on the specter of industrial waste will follow. Whether it be run-off from farms, or mining operations, or the cancerous goo used in fracking or deep-well injection all of it finds its way into the water, where it never goes away only to be consumed by life’s more basic critters so it can make its way to your dinner plate. The stress from knowing that you are unable to avoid poisoning yourself had really hit home this summer and there wasn’t enough weed in the world to make that reality palatable.

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