Going below the surface of the spill

110 days into the oil spill and media is starting to see the end of this live chase to plugging the damn hole.

My first thought on the spill way back in April was that blame shouldn’t just be placed on BP, but this catastrophe should be an eye opener for every single one of us to start to understand that our oily lifestyles are forcing us to drill in places that should never be tapped.

My second thought was, really? is this a sad joke? There is no emergency response plan for a leaking tap in the botttom of the sea? Why does the entire cleanup mission  look like a makeshift job? Everyone scrambling. Testing technologies as they go. Shouldn’t a response plan for one of the most environmentally threatening rigs have to put together an emergency plan like every other company? (Note: they did have to, they just didn’t. And the Minerals Management Service just didn’t make them.)

Then the stories came out of how all of this happened and I was disgusted. Now I have no qualms about placing the blame on BP, Transocean, Halliburton and the US government’s regulatory system. It wasn’t just an accident or an “act of God that cannot be prevented” (#12 on the list of Dumbest quotes on the oil spill). The signs were there. It was an accident waiting to happen.

Now though, it’s time to look under the surface of the spill – and TEDx OIL SPILL helps a lot with that.

A couple I watched this morning:

The oil spill’s toxic trade-off (presentation by a world leading marine toxicologist)

  • dispersants are doing more harm than good
    • Corexit (the chemical dispersant used) is highly toxic, and when combined with the oil its worse
    • breaking down the oil so that it looks like it’s gone (hurray for getting the ocean back to its original state!), really just makes a murky mess making it harder to cleanup and easier to seep into the food chain)
    • RECENT UPDATE: US AGENCY RULES OUT HEALTH THREAT OF DISPERSANT…. THAT SCARES ME EVEN MORE… i’ll go with the independent expert on this one…  –> note what the presenter in this talk says… they don’t even know what’s in the chemical, how can they make this statement?
    • (Read up on Corexit on wikipedia “The manufacturer’s safety data sheet states “No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product,” and later concludes “The potential human hazard is: Low.”

Carl Safina: The oil spill’s unseen culprits, victims

  • Why put the murderer in charge of the crime scene?
  • cleanup: booms – never made for open water and the dispersants make the booms meaningless anyway
  • the effect on wildlife “as a specialist in birds, I know that they… fly.” (his remark on the attempt to keep oil away from a bird sanctuary island is not necessarily meaningless, but that that the birds will still be effected)
  • where’s the government!!!
  • root causes: money and ideology

Anyways, some good talks to get me up to date on the sad sad state of affairs not only in the Gulf, but in our world.


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