The Oil Spill: Hold Them All Accountable

Jeff VanderMeer • June 7th, 2010 @ 4:22 pm • Uncategorized

As I said on facebook a few days ago, I think BP executives should have to live on floating rafts of debris in the middle of the oil and exist on the raw flesh of dead marine life in the area. And then anyone who suggests lifting the temporary ban on offshore drilling should join them, first and foremost Sarah Dipshit Palin. I’m serious.

All of us who know this area, the Panhandle region of Florida, are in a state of shock over this, hoping the oil isn’t going to come this way, that the landscapes we love and have, in many cases, known for decades–that have given us our sense of place and our bliss–aren’t going to be utterly and forever devastated by what’s happening. It’s hard to focus on things like deadlines in the face of it, and I’ve gone from throwing myself into work to being frozen.

Connie May Fowler, a writer and resident for many, many years has said this all more eloquently than I possibly could, and I urge you to read her blog entry.

What does the edge of the world look like? A sacred knot, a watery maze of rivers, estuaries, bays, oyster reefs, and wide-open sea. The complex cocktail of nutrients flowing from freshwater rivers into saltwater shallows helps create a biodiversity studied by scientists worldwide.

It’s true that we’re all responsible because we all depend on oil, but it’s also true that BP Oil didn’t need to drill there, that the government didn’t need to approve that drilling, and that all of the subsidiary companies involved in coming up with fail-safes and making sure equipment was properly maintained didn’t do their jobs. And that no one, apparently, could grasp the essence of what to them was an abstract and now is obscene reality. And that they still fucking can’t grasp that reality, because their words, their actions, and all of the rest, doesn’t match up with this central idea: This can’t happen again. We can’t afford for this to happen again. And that requires rethinking the paradigm. Will this happen? I’m not hopeful. This is why the scenario at the beginning of this post is part of the point–there’s a disconnect between reality and the fiction going on in these people’s heads.

I feel a little battered at the moment, and a little guilty, because these deadlines are the worst of my life and I have to make them to put food on the table. What I want to do is go out to St. Marks, what I want to do I can’t do because of everything else, until July. But I can give a little money, and you can too–check the links on Fowler’s post.

Another thing I’d like to address is this…those of you who actually rushed to the beach to enjoy it before it all goes to hell. I understand the impulse and it’s a genuine one–although some of the people I saw on the news standing in front of their SUVs on the beach seemed imbued more with the true American spirit of using something up and moving on to the next disposable thing–but for my part I’m not going out there until the danger is past, or it’s upon us and being out there will help document what’s going on. I know what St. Marks looks like unpolluted. It’s in my head. What I’m not going to do is abandon it if it all goes to hell. I’m still going to be there, I’m still going to be here.

I know I might not be making sense anymore. I’m angry and upset and I want these people held accountable–all of them.

12 Responses to “The Oil Spill: Hold Them All Accountable”

  1. Kenn Perkins says:

    Right on.

  2. Martha Wells says:

    Yes, this, exactly.

  3. Marion says:

    I’m not sure anyone could be more eloquent than you. Your passion and pain are perfectly articulated. I also live on a coast (the west coast) and aside from the heartbreak, I also feel dread. There have been bad oil leaks in California before, and is anything going to stop them from happening again? I see the pictures every day from the Deepwater Horizon and I feel horror, sadness over the human deaths, and a sense of shame.

    I put a link on my little blog to one of your earlier posts. I have sent money and I will send more, because it’s what I can do. I also have a well-insulated house with double-paned windows, I walk when I can, group errands, carpool, and I drive a hybrid. These are things I can do. I can think of a few things BP could do right now; such as paying every employed fishing person, shrimper, charter-boat pilot and oil worker $20/hr to work on cleaning the shores and the animals. (I just picked $20 out of the air; there’s no method to my madness.) How do we make them do that?

  4. Hellbound Heart says:

    couldn’t agree with you more!

  5. AshR says:

    And the directors of Shell should be forced to live on the land they have poisoned in Nigeria. The directors of Exxon should be forced to live in a dust-bowl desert for funding climate change denial. Total Oil’s directors should be locked up in a political prison in Burma for their support of the military dictators.

    Oil is a dirty business, and we are all, as a society, complicit in these crimes with our endless and rampant consumption.

    It may feel good to scapegoat a few people at the top, but we are all guilty.

  6. jeff vandermeer says:

    I said as much above, but you also have to hold people accountable. I find that when people say “we’re all to blame” too often that then contributes to a feeling of powerlessness, and to a softening of the stance that we do have to hold people accountable. Even within a dirty industry like oil there are sound and unsound practices.

    The area in which we should hold ourselves most accountable is in who we elect to political office, because what we need most is a strong governmental commitment to clean energy–a firm linking of clean energy with national security, because that, frankly, is all governments understand–and stringent oversight of the oil industry. That would accomplish much more than anything we can individually, unfortunately.

    We’re all trapped in this rampant capitalist consumerism. Even those of us who leave less of a carbon footprint.

  7. SMD says:

    Personally, I want to see the Gulf Coast before the oil ruins it because I’ve never actually seen it with my own eyes. I’m a West Coast kid and only recently moved to Florida for graduate school. So, it’s not so much a “I want to see it and dispose of it” deal for me, but a “I’ve never seen it and I’d like to remember it before it got ruined” kind of thing. You’re lucky to have a vision that isn’t tainted. Hopefully the vision remains true in the real world and the oil doesn’t come this way or can be stopped…

  8. crossing the divide » paper fruit says:

    [...] John Glover speaks eloquently about BP, the spill, and responsibility; Jeff VanderMeer has also commented on the situation. I think what affected me the most, though, was not Jeff’s idea that we put all the BP execs [...]

  9. Janette Caloca says:

    Hola I appreciate the last blog. It sure was really interesting.

  10. Wilmington Web says:

    “And today at a press conference, Obama said that the government does not have better technology than BP. That’s a nice thing to announce to the world, that our government has fewer resources than a company that tried to plug a hole with a ‘top hat.'” –Jimmy Fallon

  11. Oil Spill Blues « Antariksh Yatra says:

    [...] Spill Blues By vsinghsblog Enough has been written in blogs and news articles about the BP Oil Spill for me to need to add much.  It is really hard to hear [...]

  12. Richie Western says:

    cool. i could use suggestions from webmasters like yourself to have my blogs up to par. good info, well put together.

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