corporations

Helpless...?

In the face of large corporations' greed, governments' minimal ability to discipline the very corporations they created, and the vast, mind-numbing hugeness of this ecological disaster, I bow my head and wonder what one person can do. I've watched several videos available online, revealing the plight of the animals in the heart of the mess created by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Please, do not get me wrong; I'm saddened for the families who lost loved ones. But I recognize the choice all humans make in their chosen profession: I will accept the dangers and work on this job.

Who asked the wildlife? I sometimes wonder if mankind has become so embroiled in the hubris of its own accomplishment that we have forgotten we are the stewards of this tiny blue marble. Look around people -- you cry every time NASA is given any money at all, so clean up after yourselves! This is the only damn marble you've got!

BP may be the most visible culprit -- and they certainly have their people out there making it look like they are trying really hard -- but why aren't we seeing or hearing about Halliburton and Transocean making any efforts? Is the media simply focusing on BP's lame efforts? The closest I've come to seeing an equal share of the blame being apportioned to Transocean and Halliburton is the CBS 60 Minutes interview, conducted by Scott Pelley.

If the Kemp's Ridley turtles (see video with Captain Mike Ellis below) become exinct due to this fiasco, how does one go about sueing a company for the willful extinction of an already endangered species? What is the US government going to do -- shut them down in the US? How can they, when we are sucking so much oil every day? Cutting supply like that will simply jack the prices we see at the pump -- punishing each and every one of us (perhaps as we should be?) for the disaster created by Transocean, Halliburton and BP.

I won't pretend the United States is solely to blame in the creation of these mega-corporations -- other countries have chosen to recognize them and even snuggle up to them for their own reasons. So, when I say "government" throughout this post, I'm not just referring to the United States government.

Keep in mind -- if it hasn't already been hammered in by other sources -- that this "spill" is an ongoing problem. It's not "just" the oil in a single tanker -- or even a fleet of tankers. This is pouring out into the ocean from the very source of all oils and it will not stop until one of two things happens: someone (!) fixes it or the oil source runs out.

Since "cutting costs" are at the heart of BP's actions (see the fisher's wife's speech linked below), we can bet they aren't looking to cap the source and require a new well to be drilled. I wonder if there's solutions BP has passed up because it would cost them more?

I've spent a lot of time gathering all this together. During the process, I came to a realization. Let me lay it out, one piece at a time.

1. It's tornado season for the Great Plains

2. It's hurricane season for the Gulf Coast and East Coast.

3. It's forest fire season for the southwest.

(I've not mentioned earthquakes because they have no season.)

What is going to happen to the average American who lives in any of the areas besieged by the disasters their area is prone to? When Hurricane Katrina happened, the nation turned and focused on New Orleans (and to a lesser extent, the other areas ravaged by the hurricane). When forest fires flare up, fire fighters come from all the areas that have personnel trained in fighting this type of fire. What's going to happen when all of these things hit the nation at the same time?

We're not ready. We're not prepared, each of us individually, or our States/Counties/local governments, to handle the kind of problems we'll be facing. Instead, we'll look to the Federal government to dig us out of yet another problem -- a problem there's no money to solve, a problem there's no common interest to fix, and a problem that's too distant for most of those suits to really care about fixing. When (ha!) there's a little more free money in my family's purse, I hope to donate to a wildlife clean-up crew -- hopefully a turtle rescue, if I can. But that seems so small in the face of all of this. And it doesn't address the problems brewing under the surface.

So, I will borrow from Queen Amidala:

She says, "It is clear to me now that the Republic no longer functions. I pray that you will bring humanity and compassion back to the Senate."

How much more will Americans endure -- or rather, how much longer will our bread (fast food joints with their 99 cent menus) and circuses (cable tv, professional sports) last/work -- before we snap? As an infrequent partaker of the "bread" and a non-subscriber of the circuses (but I will admit to burying my head in video games, so maybe I should have included that one?), I am amazed the nation hasn't snapped yet. It struggles under its own weight. Americans on the West Coast are obviously out of touch with Americans on the East Coast -- and Americans from less distant cities already are challenged to understand the variations of each other's English. What does it matter to a Montanan or an Idahoan (?) if New Orleans is underwater? What does it matter to a New Yorker that Arizona or California is burning?

Sometimes, I'm tempted to sit down with a map of the United States (just a B&W outlines map) and draw boundaries as I think things will break apart. I wonder if there's an online map thingamajig that'll let us share our predictions with each other. If not, why not just write a comment and tell me what you think the boundaries will be, when our Republic falls.

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