Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blogs and oil

Lying in bed early Saturday morning in Bartlett, IL, exploring the world of blogs relating to the oil gusher in the Gulf. John Crockett ( has posted a video which gives graphic images of the tragic effect of the oil on dolphins and whales. A National Geographic article to which he provides a link makes clear the impact of the oil on the already endangered sperm whale population of the Gulf: the death of just an additional three sperm whales a year due to man-made causes (like the oil) will lead to the extinction of the sperm whale in the Gulf. These are sobering, fact-based articles that break the heart. When I turn to the New Orleans Times-Picayune website, it’s another world. There it’s all about the economic impact of the “oil spill” (they never use the word “gusher”), and the failure of the Obama administration to deal with it. They are opposed to the moratorium on off-shore oil drilling because of it’s adverse economic impact. There is also a lot of chatter in the blog world right now about a 1920 maritime law called the “Jones Act” and how it is supposedly  preventing foreign vessels from assisting in the cleanup of the Gulf (an assertion vigorously denied by others). When you scroll down the comments on these articles you realize how many sick minds there are out there! It’s depressing. One interesting blogger is a Cajun woman, Jerilee Wei (just Google her name). She has written extensively, and often perceptively, about the history of the oil industry in Louisiana, and seems to understand the terrible impact of the oil on wildlife. Yet even she isn’t ready to give up on drilling for oil off-shore. I did learn through her blogs, and the comments on them, that there are a few people out there who are trying to imagine a post-oil world. What would it look like? She refers to a story she read about what would the world look like if (1)we still had the horse and buggy as the primary mode of transport and (2)had the same population growth over the past 100 years? Answer: the world would be waist-high in horse manure!  This is presumably an argument against going back to the horse and buggy. I’m not convinced. It’s a topic that I think needs serious study. I’m still thinking a lot about trying to organize a film/discussion series when we get back to Vermont on “Oil and Apocalypse.” And I’m still fantasizing about Ellen and me going across the country in a horse and wagon, learning about horse and buggy transportation at the grass-roots level and getting people thinking about a post-oil world. There’s a lot I need to learn, and ultimately, I think our entire society needs to learn, about alternatives to oil.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could read that article about the horse manure. Does the writer not know that manure is a fertilizer, and that far from being waste deep in it we'd be using it instead of fossil-fueled, synthesized nitrogen on our fields? Is it possible that we are that out of touch with reality? Has the author completely forgotten how the natural world works, or is this deliberate misdirection? Please post a link to the article if you know where it is.