the bigger spill

I feel ashamed for not knowing about this. I knew oil was a dirty business, but this is unconscionable.

NYTimes: “Big oil spills are no longer news in this vast, tropical land. The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless.

Perhaps no place on earth has been as battered by oil, experts say, leaving residents here astonished at the nonstop attention paid to the gusher half a world away in the Gulf of Mexico. It was only a few weeks ago, they say, that a burst pipe belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the mangroves was finally shut after flowing for two months: now nothing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab.

[…] As many as 546 million gallons of oil spilled into the Niger Delta over the last five decades, or nearly 11 million gallons a year, a team of experts for the Nigerian government and international and local environmental groups concluded in a 2006 report. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 dumped an estimated 10.8 million gallons of oil into the waters off Alaska.

Do we blame the CEO’s of these companies? Or do we blame ourselves for not organizing (inter)national boycotts and refusing to gas up our cars and fly on big jet planes until this stops? Would that even make a difference? There must be a way for the people to wield their power (i.e. wallets) and make an impact. Maybe this horrific spill in the Gulf will be the tipping point?? Ultimately, as a unified group, we hold the power. The question is… how to unify effectively?


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