A sea in flames

Here’s Carl Safina:

The worst environmental disaster in history isn’t the oil that gets away. It’s the oil we burn, the coal we burn, the gas we burn. The real catastrophic spill is the carbon dioxide billowing from our tailpipes and smokestacks every second, year upon decade. That spill is destabilizing the planet’s life-supporting systems, killing polar wildlife, shrinking tropical reefs, dissolving shellfish, raising the sea level along densely populated coasts, jeopardizing agriculture, and threatening food security for hundreds of millions of people….

“The alternative is that eternal energy powers the whole planet: the energy of the sun, the strength of the wind, the power of the tides, the heat of the earth, all the algae that powers all of the life in the ocean. Petroleum, after all, is algae that’s been cooking at the bottom of the sea for millions of years. You can make jet fuel with genetically engineered algae. It’s been done. Jets have been flown on it. We have the ability to harness all of the eternal sources of energy that really power the planet. And instead, in this country, we’re stuck doing what we’ve done ever since we lived in caves: whenever we want some energy, we light fire to something. The United States is stuck in a debate that says that harnessing the eternal sources of energy that run the planet are too expensive and too impractical, but China is not under that delusion, neither is Germany or Denmark or Spain or Canada. All these countries are ahead of us in developing clean technologies, diversified energy sources, creating the jobs that go with it, and building the infrastructure that goes with it, as we pretend that it’s impractical, while our factories rust and we complain about high unemployment….”

See the entire interview on Democracy Now!

Also see the followup interviews:

  • Voices from the Gulf: Here is from a typical victim: “I can barely even get up out of bed. I have trouble breathing. I can’t remember anything. I’ve lost half my eyesight. I cough up and spit up blood all the time. I shake and tremble all the time. I can’t even open a bottle of water or even hold a bottle of water in my hands. The chemical poisoning causes headaches so bad that it puts pressure on the nerves in my brain and causes my body to be paralyzed.”
  • Deepwater drilling resumes: “Dispersants, in particular, have a very damaging effect on the small wildlife and the invertebrates. The oyster beds, for example, were hit really hard by this. And unfortunately, just as the sea turtles and dolphins are still dying today, if we go out and use this dispersant again, this disaster is going to just keep rolling and rolling and rolling. We still have not addressed the fundamental problems with offshore oil drilling. We still do not have a method of containing or cleaning up further oil spills, but yet we’re going forward with new drilling all the time.”
  • Death toll from the blowout still rising: “This is the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history—the biggest petrochemical poisoning of humans in U.S. history, and also, of course, the marine life along the Gulf Coast. And we are poised now, as we’ve also heard, that because of the Obama administration’s unbridled support of the petrochemical industry and Big Oil, specifically, in this case, we are poised to repeat this disaster and have it dealt with the same way, whether it be in the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic or somewhere in Alaska.”
  • Father of one of the explosion victims