The formidable PR machines behind BP and the Obama administration are in full swing, assuring us that ravaged Gulf coast ecosystem with be "restored and made whole." Amid all the positive spin, social activist and bestselling author Naomi Klein wonders how that is remotely possible:
"It all sounded great. But for people whose livelihoods put them in intimate contact with the delicate chemistry of the wetlands, it also sounded completely ridiculous, painfully so. Once the oil coats the base of the marsh grass, as it had already done just a few miles from here, no miracle machine or chemical concoction could safely get it out. You can skim oil off the surface of open water, and you can rake it off a sandy beach, but an oiled marsh just sits there, slowly dying. The larvae of countless species for which the marsh is a spawning ground – shrimp, crab, oysters and fin fish – will be poisoned."
After discussing BP's refusal to contemplate failure — and the morbidly comedic Gulf exploration plan submitted by the company to the federal goverment (in which the phrase "little risk" appears five times) — Klein comes to a conclusion we can't help but agree with: The only positive thing about this disaster is that it might help accelerate the shift away from oil and toward renewable energy.
It's an illuminating piece, no matter what your politics. Read the whole thing at the Guardian.
Photo: Workers try to clean up oil along the beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana, May 21, 2010.