Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gulf May Avoid Direst Predictions After Oil Spill

The usually sensationalistic and doom-and-gloom NY Times has an interesting article speaking to the diminishing impact of the gulf oil spill. 

"Yet as the weeks pass, evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring.
While its findings were disputed by some, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported several weeks ago that the oil was breaking down and dispersing rapidly, probably limiting future damage from the spill.
And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989."

Why do we frequently assume the worst of things? During the weeks following the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you'd think we were on the edge of some sort of apocalypse. The event was tragic and there is no question that damage was done on several levels to a variety of stakeholders. It wasn't a pretty picture. But nothing seems to have permanently ruined the gulf and life seems to re-asserting a degree of normalcy.

This past June, the werewolf was visiting his mother's sister and her family in Los Angeles. Despite being a wonderful lady in many regards, the werewolf's aunt is ever-fearful of the world and blinded by the goggles of myopic liberalism. During drinks around her table, she said the topic of the gulf oil was spill was too upsetting to her and her teenage son, who will live a world that the treacherous oil companies are destroying. She huffed, puffed, and launched into a incoherent screed blaming  President Bush and bemoaning the scale of destruction, than forbade further discussion of the topic. Last spring, this blog assumed that spill would have a ripple effect across multiple segments of the economy and that the ugliest legacy would be in reactionary legislation. However, nothing on either scale has come to pass.

Is life generally so good that we need to manifest our fears through these sensationalistic tragedies? Is it the only outlet the hard-wired memories of how tough life was for our forefathers, where mortality was brutal, food was scarce, and everything a cause for fear, to have a collective freak-out every-time something goes amiss? Has life become so decadent with increased life spans, easy food, cheap cloths, solid shelters, and easy access to basic health-care that we have lost all sense of scale and proportion to what a tragedy really conveys?  Are we psychologically ruined by the 24 news cycle and it's intrinsically pessimistic coverage style?  A dozen potential concepts surface when given thought, but still, humans and the earth are resilient and tough. We need to collectively grow some balls and worry about the really scary crap out and applying some common-sense to reinforcing society's social institutions. Here's to looking on the bright-side.

1 comment:

  1. We're psychologically wired to see everything as confirming our prejudices about the world unless there's some evidence sufficiently strong to overcome them. Can't do anything about that other than try to be somewhat self-aware.