The BP Gulf Oil Spill - What This Means for Green Jobs

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Blood in the Water, Part 5: The End of Days ~ maybe for fossil fuels, if we’re all smart enough . . .

(Author’s note: This is the last in the Blood in the Water series of posts on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but I will write more on the subject as appropriate throughout the clean up and relief efforts.)

copy of oil spillOne of the things that nearly always follows in the wake of a catastrophic event, like the Deepwater Horizon explosion and massive oil spill, is the self-proclaimed prophets who come out of the woodwork heralding the event as evidence of the approaching apocalypse and the end of days.

You should pardon the expression, but ~ bollox.

Every major event ~ including New Years Eve, 1999, for instance ~ is an opportunity for someone, somewhere, to don his or her metaphorical sandwich board and go about proclaiming the approach of the end times. The ease with which one can make a video and post it to the internet these day just gives these people a broader audience.

Now, here’s a better idea: how about putting our energies into predicting the end of days for fossil fuel concerns like oil companies and coal mines ~ and then making that prediction a reality.

I’d start by finding out as much as I could about what it would take to replace the fossil-fuel-generated energy in my community with clean, renewable energy. I would research solar power and wind power and find out where the technology for installing those systems could be procured. Then I would go to work spreading the word and educating the people and generating support for a transition to those clean energy alternatives.

Would I bother to write or email my congress people? Probably not ~ in my experience (and yes, I have written and emailed my congressmen in the past) such communications are either ignored or responded to with campaign promises and requests for contributions. Writing your congress person and making him or her aware of your concerns is a good and useful pursuit, but don’t expect it to be the vehicle for real change.

Real change takes place among the people (as you may have heard me say before ;-) ), and as Kindra the fisherman’s wife said, it starts with one. That one can be: You.

Having said that, however, I do have to applaud the example President Obama is setting us for standing up and speaking out and demanding accountability and reparation for the gulf and its residents. His remarks at the press conference on Friday speak volumes about the kind of person he is and are well worth your time.


 

 

The President’s persistence in holding BP accountable and the way he has positioned people to facilitate rapid response to the concerns of the leaders of the parishes in Louisiana and their counterparts in the counties of the surrounding states ~ including making himself available to them if their needs aren’t being met by his appointees ~ is virtually unprecedented.

If he can do all of this and still execute all the other responsibilities of his office as President of the United States, what excuse do we have for not doing whatever we can do to help our communities break free of their dependence on fossil fuels?

Catastrophes and disasters happen, and a lot of them ~ like this one ~ are the result of shortsightedness and the pursuit of a larger profit margin at any cost. Some ~ like this one ~ can seem like the end of the world, especially to those most intimately affected.

In truth, the explosion and oil spill of the Deepwater Horizon is just the most recent of many such events having to do with fossil fuels ~ the explosion and cave in of the Upper Big Branch coalmine that claimed the lives of 29 miners in Virginia two months ago springs immediately to mind.

This brief notice from MSNBC says it all:

“COMFORT, W.Va. – Time stopped five days ago for the families of 29 coal miners killed in the devastating explosion at Upper Big Branch mine.

As thousands waited, hoping for any word someone might have survived Monday’s blast, life in coal country chugged on, men trudging underground day and night to fill the trucks and trains that haul away coal around the clock.

Mining is a way of life here. So is death.”

So do I think this oil spill is the harbinger of the End of Days ~ no. But if we’re smart enough and we care enough, it may be the death-knell of those industries that traffic in fossil fuels.

One can only hope ~


Catch up with the "Blood in the Water" article series:

Read "Blood in the Water - Part 1"

Read "Blood in the Water - Part 2"

Read "Blood in the Water - Part 3"

Read "Blood in the Water - Part 4"