More fallout from the spill

Chasing Down The Muse

June 04, 2010|Catharine Cooper

The air is heavy and cool with June fog that's layered in along the coastline. Buster and I wander early before the dog police arrive to ticket us off the local sands. Small waves break the silence of the morning, and a tidal surge gently rolls over the reefs between Brooks and Cress streets.

Even with the gray skies, I know that blue-green waters wait only for the sun to peak through the clouds to reveal themselves. A few fish dart; a pair of dolphin frolics.

I stop and ponder the beauty around me. A tear snakes down my cheek. What is this? Why this sadness?

Ah … this is the Gulf of Mexico echoing through my thoughts. This is the juxtaposition of a rich marine life before me and the specter of dead seas a few thousand miles away.


It could be us, I think. This could be Santa Barbara all over again, or sludge from a newly crafted well born from the recently released (and temporarily rescinded) federal drilling tracts.

Why does it actually take a disaster of the blown well of Deepwater Horizon to shake us from our somnambulistic sleep? With each turn of our technology, we continue to reveal ourselves as poor caretakers of our home planet. Rather than join with the Earth's resources and live in planetary harmony, we dig, we drill, we slash, we burn … we consume. We foul the air, poison the waters, scar the land, and imagine that magically that the Earth will heal itself and continue to provide for us.

Maybe BP has finally ripped the veil off our ignorance. Our continued sucking of petroleum from the guts of the Earth is not only folly — it is a limited resource — it's just plain stupid.

Oil was not meant to spew from the earth with the power and magnitude of the current spill. Oil drizzles. It oozes. Mostly, it's content in its deep underground wells, sleeping if you will, as it has for eons.

The consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are of such great magnitude that they cannot as yet be measured. The full weight of destruction to habitat, fisheries, marine life, migratory waterfowl will overwhelm our best estimates.

Scientists are scrambling to establish numbers, but there is nothing historical with which to compare this disaster. Out-of-control oil gushing from below 5,000 feet at the rate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day times 44 days and counting. Frightening reports of no viable solution until August chill the most optimistic of environmentalists.

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