I’m talking about the oil spill.
I don’t need to specify which one, do I? I’m talking about the oil spill—the one in the Gulf of Mexico, the one that has the Brits’ panties in a ruffle, the one that has us saying, “Exxon who?”
That oil spill started 82,080 minutes ago. That’s 57 days. That’s nearly two months. That’s more gallons of toxic black goo than anyone is able to put an honest figure to.
These words, and many more, apply well to describe this event, which killed 11 people before it started killing sea life and marine careers. But here’s another word I’d like to suggest:
What if we could use this disastrous, nightmarish travesty as an opportunity to move the car-free movement forward?
I know I’m not the first to say it, but maybe this oil spill will give us the kick in the butt we need to recognize the error of our car-driving ways. Maybe we’ll see more articles like Grist’s “10 ways cities and towns can kick the offshore-oil habit”, and maybe we’ll see individuals and groups actually enacting these suggestions. Maybe oil-covered birds and destitute fishermen will be more convincing than far-away wars and inflated gas prices.
Maybe we’ll finally be capable of making the connection between our car culture and our imperiled future.
Then again, maybe not. I heard an NPR radio spot the other day, in which interviewees in Louisiana rejected implications that their car-driving habits might be, if not to blame, at least related to the horrible occurrence off our southern shore.
A lot of people are being blamed for the spill: BP, Halliburton, Obama.
But there’s really no shortage of blame for the massive spill, so I think we should save a bit of it for ourselves.
Guilt isn’t a fun feeling, but maybe a feeling of culpability for a disastrous, nightmarish travesty is what it’s going to take to make us stop and evaluate what we’re doing.