I’ve started to write a few different posts in the past few weeks, but their different topics just don’t seem to matter in the face of the death of the Gulf of Mexico, especially the affectionately named Redneck Riviera – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle – these areas are most assuredly dead. Field researchers from LSU who have been on the coast in the past few weeks say that these shorelines will be dead for decades, no question, and that we still don’t know how much longer it will go on, and consequently how much farther it will extend.
There numerous excellent scienceblog posts that are closely reporting the daily progress of the murder (manslaughter is still murder, even though accidental), and reporting more of the environmental and public health aspects of what is happening – many are linked through Page 3.14’s recent summary.
This post is more simply a note about the death of a good friend. The death of days spent playing in the clear waters of Gulf Shores or Ship Island. The death of shrimp, pelicans, gulls, porpoises, sea turtles, and all the other animals who, even if you clean them up, don’t know not to swim back into it – not conceiving how what once was their home could now burn their skin, blind them, asphyxiate them, and slowly and painfully kill them. The death of much of south Louisiana – literally, figuratively, economically, culturally. The death of swimming in the bioluminescent waves on moonless nights off Dauphine Island. The death of watching schools of fish shimmer across the water off Orange Beach.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to commemorate the former life of the Gulf of Mexico. Its unexpected demise, still ongoing, reminds us to cherish every day of remaining nature, before greed and stupidity shit all over all of our favorite places, our favorite friends. Alas, if it were only that BP had biodegradably shat all over the Gulf, rather than killing it with millions of gallons of poison.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to watch how mankind can, in less than two months, destroy one of the largest bodies of water on Earth. We are gathered here today to hear Global Warming deniers continue to assert than humans cannot cause global scale climate changes. We are gathered here today to watch Louisiana legislators weeping on television, unable to finish what they were trying to say. We are gathered here today to watch corporate executives tell a room full of ex-fishermen and ex-shrimpers that BP is “sorry for the inconvenience”.
But, we gather here today not to excoriate BP, but to bury the Gulf of Mexico. We gather here today not to condemn the oil industry to the deepest part of Hell, but to sit at the bedside of what once was blue water, blue sky, and salt tang. We gather here today because there is no place else to go. The stench of death draws us here. The loss of a friend draws us here. We come here today because we cannot let go, and we cannot stop watching in horror as, day by day, something we loved is poisoned (1), shot (2) , burned (3), stabbed (4), again (5), and again (6), and on (7), and on (8), and on (9), and on (10), and on (11), and on (12), and on (13), and on (14), and on (15), and on (16), and on (17), and on (18), and on (19), and on (20), and on (21), and on (22), and on (23), and on (24), and on (25), and on (26), and on (27), and on (28), and on (29), and on (30), and on (31), and on (32), and on (33), and on (34), and on (35), and on (36), and on (37), and on (38), and on (39), and on (40), and on (41), and on (42), and on (43), and on (44), and on (45)…
…till there is nothing left but a world full of our own shit.