Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Deep Water Oil Spill

"SPILL : to cause accidentally, or allow intentionally, to  fall, flow, or run out, usually with the result of losing or wasting; hence, to lose, or suffer to be scattered; as to spill water; to spill sand."    so says my 1959 blue hardbound Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary

To lose, or suffer...there were eleven bronze hard hats at a Memorial Service today, Tuesday, May 25th, 2010.  Eleven men died in the April 20th,  Deepwater Horizon big rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

One barrel of oil is 42 gallons. I think of things I have spilled, running for rags to mop up the milk or the wine  or the ink.  Hurry, before it's all over everything.  Hurry, mop it up.  A quart of milk, a litre of wine...a small dark bottle of ink...Pelican Ink...that's the brand I spilled.   

The Pelicans fly over us here. They always lift my heart.  "Pelican alert," we call out to each other. "Pelican alert!" I think about the wetlands of the Gulf of Mexico.

Last year I took this picture of a mural on a wall in Monterey, California. 
It's a tall but worthy aspiration ~Protect All Life~and this mural is only focused on sea life.  There aren't even any really tiny not yet breathing on their own human babies pictured.  It's a good goal to think about; what can one do?  One me, one you, what can we do?  How to achieve the will as a people, as a culture, as an economy to prioritize taking care of what is?  Pick a realm, any realm, and apply this hope, this goal.

                                                 F I L L _______I N ________

                                                T H E _______B L A N K S __________

 Sustainable is a very popular word these days, and rightly so.  You know what it feels like to burn the candle at both ends?  You can do it once in a while and then rest up and restore yourself.  But if you are down to one or two candles and it's a long dark night,  maybe it's best to only burn one end at a time and only when you really need the light.  And if you are out in the woods, then you need to care for the flame because it's best not to unleash what we can't contain.

So the blowout prevention failed, the inspectors may have been watching porno or under the influence of crystal methamphetamine and now the big hope is piles of heavy mud with concrete on top of it,  a plan called  "TOP KILL."   

Maybe the oil will eventually get eaten up with DNA altered microbes.  How many  Alcanivorax borkumensis, these are little  rod-shaped bacteria that can eat and get energy from oil, could be safely introduced to the gulf?   That makes me nervous.  Here we are drilling miles below the surface unleashing crude oils into delicate ecosystems and then such a mess could inspire solutions involving synthetic and modified life forms.  Are we sure about that?  What might that do...?

Last week we watched the movie "The Future of Food."  It brings up a lot of questions.  Is it really a good idea to use E-coli  to break into the DNA of one organism so you can splice in the attribute of some other entity?  I am not making this up...

Enough late night reading and musing. I am not going to read anymore about the oil spill tonight.  I am putting out my little candle and going to bed.  I hope that the planned efforts to cap , after five weeks of spilling, are totally successful.  The real mopping up can't really happen until the gushing stops.  Thank you, people who are out there working to stop the damage, washing off turtles and trying to save birds.  I'm sad for the human losses, the lost lives, the suffering of the survivors,  and the enormous number of people who are suffering acute loss of  livelihood and a way of life.  Off shore drilling,  miles below  in the terrain the Beatles called "under the sea an octupus' garden in the shade," may not be where we want to be drilling.

Apparently what happens offshore, doesn't stay offshore...


Neal said...

Well said....

Haddock said...

wonder what will happen to the pelicans