Caught in the Oil Spill

The photos above are both cruel and painful to look at, and that’s exactly why I’m posting them. It’s been 46 days since the drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana had an explosion causing crude oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. These photos were taken by AP Photographer Charlie Riedel and I think they sum up what’s happening quite well, showing that there are living things dying because of this catastrophe. I think it’s hard to really realize what’s happening since it’s not on land, and we can’t see exactly what this giant blot on a satellite map really means.

It sickens me that the our government hasn’t done more to make these assholes pay for what they’ve done. I don’t think there’s even a way to calculate the damage that has been done and the potential long term problems. I hope whenever this mess is over that BP is held fully accountable for not taking the proper precautions and that our government makes sure that this never happens again.

I also wanted to point out that designer/educator Frank Chimero has updated the Lousiana image from his States Project to reflect the current state of the state. Originally there was gum on the bottom of the shoe, making the statement about how difficult it was to get out of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit. But it’s amazing how well this works when you simply change the pink of bubblegum to the black of crude.


24 Comments Caught in the Oil Spill

  1. Alphonse June 4, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Saying BP are fully responsible is like saying McDonalds is responsible for obesity.

    They may have spilled the oil, but we were the ones who demanded it in the first place.

  2. Bobby Solomon June 4, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    @Alphonse – Why would you even defend them?! That’s what I don’t get about people, like they feel bad that people are pissed at BP. It was a rig that they were responsible for and they fucked up BIG TIME.

    If I had a button in a box that destroyed the world, and I lost the button in a box and someone pressed it, would you blame me or the button maker?

  3. Paul Anthony Webb June 4, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    I was appalled when I saw the news reports talking about how BP was going to “fix” the oil spill. A “tophat”? Stuffing trash into the pipe? Why is it that people in power are the stupid ones?

    I know a lot of people are caught up on this 2012 the world’s gonna end thing but if that is the case, I certainly don’t think it will be by some planetary alignment – it’ll be our fault. The shit just keeps piling up. I honestly fear for future generations.

  4. snuf June 4, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    let’s say … if an airplane crashed and people died.

    what caused the tragic accident? the pilot made a deadly mistake? bad weather? the plane had some problems? whose responsibilities?

    someone people seem to think it’s passengers’s(our) fault because they(we) ‘demanded’ to invent the airplane in first place, and choose to fly.

    this is not the same case like someone chose to follow google map and hit by a car, then blaming google for that. my common sense says it’s ridiculous. blaming BP? i don’t have to think.

  5. snuf June 4, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    arrgghhhh sorry for my silly typo…

  6. Alphonse June 4, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    @ Bobby

    BP don’t deserve forgiveness for this, and they’re not worth defending. They fucked up.

    The thing is, this could have happened anywhere. If we’ve learned anything in the past, its that nothing is perfect. It’s very clear proper research had not been done in the case something like this would happen. I guess everyone just assumed it wouldn’t. Shouldn’t these companies need a working emergency solution before they’re approved to drill?

    I just think that if we’re laying blame, we should point a few more fingers. That first picture doesn’t say look what BP did, it says look at what you spoiled humans did. The essential substance of one species covering a species that doesn’t need it at all.

    We call it evolution, but we’re the only species that are endangering ourselves.

  7. Aaron Rayburn June 4, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    We have 3,911 active oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, 12 of which were built in May 2010, after the explosion of Deepwater Horizon.

    After the Valdez spill in 1989, Exxon went on to become the most profitable company the Earth has ever seen.

    Clearly this is larger than BP.
    I wouldn’t defend BP, nor would I defend Shell, Exxon, or any of the other mega corps drilling near our shores. But I will look at myself and ask: did I support oil companies today? Did I vote them into existence with my dollars?

    It’s easy for me to rail on BP or the industry as a whole, but perhaps every time I gas up at the station I am only feeding the beast. I can’t feed it and hate it at the same time. One of these things has to go away. One of them must be snuffed out.

  8. rburch June 5, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    I’m not an environmentalist and I don’t really want to get into the politics of it, though I think it’s important. Just not sure this blog is the place for that. I think it’s a good idea to pray for the people in the golf coast. This is a horrible accident that has had little response from those that should be doing something about it. I pray God would grant wisdom to those involved in fixing the problem and that it would be fixed soon. I was watching Dateline last night and was amazed at the devastation.

  9. V Borges June 5, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Well, of course BP is to blame because if BP didn’t exist this wouldn’t be happening. On the other hand, if it wasn’t BP probably it would any other company. What’s more, if it wasn’t for us, like Alphonse said, this wouldn’t be happening at all.
    And it’s totally useless saying that BP has to pay for what they have done. You could be saying, after seeing these images, that you would never use your car anymore, but no, you’re more interested in blaming BP.
    Why is that? Because one can never accept the fact that each and everyone one of us is responsible for these things, and it is a lot easier blaming BP than blaming yourself.
    Maybe, if the USA and so many big companies hadn’t forced small companies to be shut down when they were trying to develop ways to substitute gas and petrol this wouldn’t be happening at all. But of course, in the end capitalism reigns and this is what it happens.
    And in the middle of this capitalist wave, you get so egoist that you don’t see that the problem starts in you. In everyone of us.
    No… let’s blame BP!

  10. V Borges June 5, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    The first measures that BP made, to try to stop this black wave from getting bigger was making big underwater explosions (massive damage to sealife) and the other one was pumping some thickener into the oil that was coming out so that it would stay into deep water, which again did massive damage to sealife.
    This is the problem. And this is a much bigger problem than the really small quantities of oil getting to the coast.
    This is the problem. That instead of trying to solve it they are trying to hide it… and this was accepted by the US government.
    but hey… blame BP!!

  11. Bobby Solomon June 5, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    @V Borges: What I think is kinda funny about your rant is that I don’t have a car, so yes, BP or any other gas company isn’t getting my support in that way. And I’m pretty sure the buses I use run on natural gas, so….

    Yes, I will blame BP for their error. Had it been anyone else I would blame them instead. Do YOU have a car.

  12. j cook June 5, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    While this is a devastating tragedy, what’s more tragic are the things that go on without us knowing, the invisible hemmoraging of our beautiful earth, and our own well-being. What gets me about debates like this regarding the environment – personal gas useage, who is to blame in a situation like this – is that it misses the point entirely. The real issue is not reducing carbon emissions, taking public transit, recycling and reusing – all of that is a band-aid for a system that just doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter if every car on the planet is replaced with an electric one; the problem is that we need to use them at all.

    Herein lies the core of the issue; the design of our cities. Suburbs shouldn’t exist; food sources should be within the radius of each city. Self-reliance and self-containment for each and every city, unique to its own geography, resources, and people. All of the recycled consumer goods and “green” products just help perpetuate a consumerist mentality and attitude that is at the heart of the problem.

  13. Aaron Rayburn June 5, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    I don’t have a car either, but I can’t escape crude oil in my life. From crude is derived:

    plastic gadgets, tools, bags, toys
    clothing (polyester, nylon)
    hand lotions
    petroleum jelly
    dishwashing liquids
    bubble gums
    car tires
    heart valves
    Fuel oils
    Jet fuel
    Liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
    Alkenes (olefins) which can be manufactured into plastics or other compounds
    Lubricants (produces light machine oils, motor oils, and greases, adding viscosity stabilizers as required).
    Wax, used in the packaging of frozen foods, among others.
    Sulfur or Sulfuric acid. These are a useful industrial materials. Sulfuric acid is usually prepared as the acid precursor oleum, a byproduct of sulfur removal from fuels.
    Bulk tar.
    Petroleum coke, used in speciality carbon products or as solid fuel.
    Paraffin wax
    Aromatic petrochemicals to be used as precursors in other chemical production.

    Perhaps, then, it is appropriate to focus our energy & outrage on the companies that pursue deepwater drilling, as clearly we don’t have the technology to fix a problem when it arises.

    Here is a pretty good list of firms pursuing deepwater:

  14. Patrick Stephenson June 5, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    It is a frustrating thing, but a problem that I think is far bigger than BP, inherently, as some have said here. Not to say one shouldn’t blame ’em, but they aren’t the only ones to blame, by far. One would hope that this might be the impetus for some real social and political change, but it being some 30 odd years after Exxon with little reform, I’m not all that hopeful.

    Regardless, here’s something from me:

  15. Alex June 5, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    These images are spreading quickly, which is a good thing. They sure are sickening.

    Here is a good tool for visualizing the size of the disaster:

  16. José Luis June 5, 2010 at 9:59 PM

    The only good thing after the BP’s oil spill is that twitter account -@BPGlobalPR, it’s hilarious but tragic. And yeah, BP is totally guilty. And it’s full of dumbasses too. And hiring Dick Chayney’s former publicist, really?? No wonder why mexican authorities are thinking about sueing -did I wrote it correctly?- BP on international courts if the oil spill touches mexican shores in august as expected. You all should follow Clayton Cubbit’s tumblelog.

  17. José Luis June 5, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    OH, and Frank’s work is absolutely genius, sadly he should starts doing Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and also Cuba and Tamaulipas -Mexico-

  18. V Borges June 6, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    @ Bobby ahah NO I DO NOT have a car. But I still blame you and me, before blaming BP.

    Blame you, blame me,
    before blaming BP,
    that’s the way it should be.

    (please sing it as Lionel Richie would…)

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  20. James June 7, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    The problem, and a lot of the blame, lies with the way that America conducts its oil industry.

    The American system is the most deregulated in the world. It is known to be common for companies to be filling out their own safety reports. Even if these safety reports are conducted in the proper way – with independent officials present, they fall far short in terms of stringency when compared to those for rigs off Norway and the British North Sea fields.

    Furthermore, this particular BP rig was there to tap a reserve of oil that would provide only 12 hours of global consumption – this demonstrates just how desperate America has become to find its own oil, and just how little of it they really have left. Drilling a mile under the sea for such an insignificant amount was unnecessary in the first place. The days where America become totally reliant on the rest of the world for energy are rapidly approaching, and they would do well to better relations now and prepare themselves for an future of energy dependence.

    If future disasters like this are to be avoided, then making the CEO of BP the scapegoat (as the majority of the American press has sought to do) is not the right way to go about things. Highlight the crude (excuse the pun) safety measures and paucity of Gulf resources instead, and then perhaps things might start to change. After all, Americans make up only 5% of the world’s population, and yet still account for 25% of annual oil consumption. Clearly it is more than one company that needs to change its ways.

  21. MZA June 7, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    even if i didn’t have a car.. the vast majority of things have been trucked around the country (or been on boats, planes, whatmayhaveyou) so there’s really no way to avoid contributing to oil consumption.

    but all of this shit makes me feel horrible, regardless of fault.

    how long does it take to plug up a leak? seriously?!

    maybe we shouldn’t be putting holes on the ocean floor in the first place?

    like alex above said:

    if it were in oregon, it would stretch from salem to olympia.. the coast to the yakima area.. but you know.. since its not killing people yet, take your time.

  22. Jeff June 7, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Thanks for the post. Everyone should see these images. But far worse than this highly visible pollution is the massive amounts of invisible carbon pollution that we’re spewing into the atmosphere everyday. (Deniers can talk to NASA about it… )

    Our addiction to fossil fuels isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, but we need to put a price on carbon pollution and make these industries pay! It’s the only way we’ll ever start making the necessary shift to cleaner and safer alternatives.

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