Last night’s episode of The Rachel Maddow cemented her as a crunk ally. Although I generally eschew msm outlets, I do appreciate Maddow’s rare brand of journalism. Walking along the increasingly endangered marshland in southern Louisiana, Maddow remarked, “Beyond petroleum, my ass!” Maddow’s sentiment is more than a pithy jab at the behemoth oil company. It is a spot on, albeit brief, assessment of the travesty happening on the Gulf Shore.
In 2001, BP, also known as British Petroleum, started using the tagline “Beyond Petroleum” to emphasize their commitment to alternative energy sources and the like. However, considering the company spends only approximately 4% of its budget on researching alternative fuels, BP is more adept at, or perhaps just more interested in, greenwashing its atrocious record rather than actually moving beyond the same tired paradigms of energy consumption. After all, they did change their logo from a shield to a cute helios pattern, that means they’re down for the environment, right?
I’ll try to tone down the snark, but when I see pictures of birds caked in disgusting oil, I have to get snarky to keep from crying. We have one planet, yet we seem to be determined to damage, mistreat, pollute, and ultimately destroy it. I’ve lived in Florida and Alabama, two of the states deeply affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I’ve lived through hurricanes, landslides, tornadoes, and tropical storms. And while I certainly don’t want to downplay the devastation that natural disasters have inflicted, I will agree with Rachel Maddow in that this oil spill, which has already eclipsed the devastation that was (and is) the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989: this is a whole other situation . The ecosystem and the industry may never be the same in these coastal regions because of the hubris and utter disregard of BP and its political cronies. (For the record, since 1990 BP has contributed more than $5 million to political campaigns in the US ; 72% went to Republicans and 28% went to Democrats. Side eye).
The situation on the Gulf Coast is an issue that we cannot ignore. We all know that when things get bad communities of color, by and large, get hit the hardest. Folks (and habitats) are still recovering from Katrina, Ike, and Rita in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast region. There’s no telling what all this recent disaster will do to these communities.
What is your take on the disaster? And what do you think needs to be done about it?