This evening I went to a panel at Busboys and Poets, DC’s trendy, lefty, bar/restaurant/political forum/bookstore. A woman named Antonia Juhasz spoke about her new book Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill. She was joined by panelists from Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity.
It was an interesting talk. The three of them rehashed the details of how much oil had been spilled (that we’re aware of), how many lawsuits are currently being leveled against BP and Transocean (about a thousand), and how contrary to what we’ve all been told, most of the oil is still out there in the Gulf and hasn’t been cleaned. Apparently, the oil companies didn’t bother to do any of the research that they were supposed to have done with regards to how to clean up oil, so they had no techniques but the same ones used to clean up the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989. Which clearly didn’t work all that well.
Being from the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Deepwater Horizon spill touches a nerve for me. Every time I hear about it, and learn more of the details of the gross negligence that contributed to both the occurrence of the disaster and its scale, I see red. I want to single-handedly swim to the bottom of the Gulf and clean up the oil coating the sea floor. I want to single-handedly revive the coastal fishing industry and ensure that all the fish and shrimp are safe to eat. I want to do something.
And this is where events like this fall short. Because they remind me of all my pent-up frustration with the world,and don’t give concrete ways in which I can contribute, other than donating cash that as a grad student I don’t have. There is very little that I personally can do for the Gulf Coast. And that, more than anything, makes me feel frustrated.