BP, British Petroleum, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Consumerism, Corexit, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate State, Dr. Wilma Subra, Eco-Apocalypse, Ecological Sacrifice Zones, Environmental Collapse, Gross Inequality, Gulf Oil Spill, Industrial Disease, Inverted Totalitarianism, Mass Die Off, Noam Chomsky, Peak Oil, Renfrey Clarke, Tragedy of the Commons, Vice Media: Crude Awakening
A recent investigative piece by Vice on the aftermath of the BP oil spill, America’s most devastating environmental accident to date and the “largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry”, shows that people are still getting sick and dying in the Gulf region.
Award winning chemist, Dr. Wilma Subra, conducted blood tests on Gulf Coast residents who were symptomatic with new illnesses and found that some of the cancer-causing agents were 65 times the expected level in the victims blood tests. Subra noted that Corexit is in the air, the water and the Gulf resident’s blood.
“There’s a whole population that’s very sick and doesn’t have access to medical care, and that’s what we’ve been trying to work on now, from the very beginning, is getting them medical care so they will get better,” says Subra. “How many people do you think we’re talking about, do we have any guess?” “Hundreds of thousands along the whole coastal area,” Subra says. “Hundreds of thousands of people?” “That are sick, yes.”
It also is likely that the BP cleanup workers are going to suffer the same fate. Listen to what Dr. Wilma Subra had to say about the health of this group.
These findings can leave little doubt that BP’s use of Corexit has seriously compromised the collective life span of Gulf Coast residents. This is a staggering implication for the collective longevity in the Gulf. – link
Nearly 2 millions gallons of Corexit were used to prevent the millions of barrels of leaked oil from hitting shorelines. Where did all that oil go? Once Corexit is dispersed over an oil slick, it causes the spilled oil to break apart and sink to the bottom of the ocean. In the case of the BP oil spill, this toxic material created massive kill zones on the Gulf floor. When oil and Corexit are mixed together, the resultant substance becomes 52 times more toxic and penetrates human skin much easier. The locals don’t eat what they catch, but remember that Obama said it was safe.
Corexit has been banned in 18 countries, including the UK, because “it is a cancerous causing neurotoxin pesticide that is acutely toxic to both human and marine life.” Every time there is a strong storm, the Corexit chemical and oil mixture gets swept up onto shore and enters the water cycle:
As of early October 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website specifically stated that the spill should have no effect on drinking water, and that any questions residents might have about their water should be directed to their drinking water provider. The website fails to mention that water from the Gulf, mixed with oil and Corexit could make its way into the ecosystem eventually, washing up onto the Gulf’s shores and seeping insidiously into the ground water. Florida’s ground water aqueduct system provides drinking water to 18 million residents. – link
The happy motoring culture of suburban sprawl, bread & circus infotainment, and celebrity/wealth worship has long since forgotten what has been called “the biggest public health crisis from a chemical poisoning in the history of this country“. Entrapped by poverty and lacking the means to escape the Gulf region, its residence have become part of the sacrifice zone offered up in the name of profit to the carbon-hungry God of industrial civilization.
None of the locals who took part in the clean-up effort were told of the dangers to their health, nor were they allowed to wear protective gear such as respiratory masks, suits, and gloves because it would have more accurately conveyed to the world the true nature of the disaster. More recently, BP has been accused of hiring internet trolls to threaten critics of its handling of the 2010 disaster. Surely the authorities were aware of the aftermath from the Exxon Valdez accident wherein the same dispersant was used by those clean-up workers who are now nearly all dead at the average age of 51. For BP and the U.S. government, image and corporate interests override the horrific realities of ecocide and corporate manslaughter. Better to sink the oil out of sight and mind in order to maintain the illusion that all is well rather than have a company pay the full cost for its recklessness. All that oil mixed with Corexit is now a 3 to 4 inch toxic layer blanketing the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, inhibiting its biodegradation by natural oil-consuming bacteria and prolonging the disaster for decades. And BP is once again allowed to bid for U.S. government contracts after having sued the EPA in 2013 to lift the suspension. Of course lots of conspiracy theories surrounded the BP oil spill, but the only real conspiracy here was the government/corporate collusion to hide and minimize the damage, control the public’s perception of the disaster, and protect corporate profits over people and environment — nothing out of the ordinary for the corporatocracy we live under, here or abroad.
It’s not just in the oceans that we have to worry about oil spills. If we look at just one set of data from one inland state, you can get an idea of the staggering scale of the fallout from the oil drenched machine of industrial civilization:
When you take into account all the global destruction that capitalist industrial civilization has wrought over the last few centuries, you realize no solution will ever be forthcoming from our corporate overlords. The idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is simply a PR and marketing ploy. CSR employs ineffective market-based solutions, making it appear that a corporation is addressing a social or environmental problem when in fact it only serves to protect corporate financial interests and shift the blame to the individual and elsewhere. Over decades, corporations have molded society into atomized, uninformed, and passive consumers who parrot the same talking points fed to them from the mainstream media. Those wielding the power in society and leading mankind over a cliff are the same ones that hide behind the moniker of CSR, a smokescreen for continuing the looting and polluting of the planet to the point of ecological collapse.
As the catastrophes of the BP oil spill and Fukushima illustrate, a bankrupt planet is preferable to them over a bankrupt corporation. The Tragedy of the commons, as Noam Chomsky points out, has been perverted and twisted by the widespread adoption of the capitalist ethos. It actually means the opposite of what most have been taught to believe:
…there is another part of Magna Carta which has been forgotten. It had two components. The one is the Charter of Liberties which is being dismantled. The other was called the Charter of the Forests. That called for protection of the commons from the depredations of authority. This is England of course. The commons were the traditional source of sustenance, of food and fuel and welfare as well. They were nurtured and sustained for centuries by traditional societies collectively. They have been steadily dismantled under the capitalist principle that everything has to be privately owned, which brought with it the perverse doctrine of – what is called the tragedy of the commons – a doctrine which holds that collective possessions will be despoiled so therefore everything has to be privately owned. The merest glance at the world shows that the opposite is true. It’s privatization that is destroying the commons. That’s why the indigenous populations of the world are in the lead in trying to save Magna Carta from final destruction by its inheritors…
I’m afraid we are light years away from the Charter of the Forests and any sort of bucolic utopias. As for the future, think moonscapes, tumbleweeds, and the creaking sheet metal of rusted-out cars. The hyper-reality of megacities, with their pulsating neon lights and traffic-filled streets, will fall into silence and decay. Coastal cities will be swallowed up in watery graves. The impotence of man’s technology will become painfully evident as the global-scale geochemical disruptions caused by man quickly unfold, ripping asunder any hold we once had on Earth.
…If modern industrial capitalism were a person, he or she would be on suicide watch. The system that has brought us quantum physics and reality television, modern medicine and the columns of Andrew Bolt is set on a course which, by all the best reckoning, points directly to its doing itself in. If capitalism goes on — everything goes. Climate, coastlines, most living species, food supplies, the great bulk of humanity. And certainly, the preconditions for advanced civilisation, perhaps forever…
~ Renfrey Clarke