When the structures of our lives alter, people panic, and that’s to be expected.
Politically the current Gulf crisis is being compared to Katrina by those looking to blame the current Administration for something. The comparisons fall apart rather quickly upon closer examination.
The BP Gulf Geyser is a global-in-scope, human-caused catastrophe. The
resulting geyser of oil from that cause is not under control, in fact it’s inevitably getting worse.
Katrina was a two hour blast and a lot of reasonably contained clean
up. The BP Oil Geyser is now ongoing with a complete ending some months
off. It was set up by 30 years of a deregulatory, anti environmental
attitudes that Republicans brought to this nation during the Reagan era
in a very systematic and intentional way.
The Powell Memo I happened to look into awhile back was their
blueprint for putting corporate influence and management of this nation
in place, and that was created in 1971. They systematically killed
Carter’s feeble attempts — around 1978 — to change the way we approach our economic
activities, and the energy source that sustains it. Carter’s attempts were part of a nation’s response to its own incidence of Peak Oil that occurred just as Hubbert predicted it would in 1973. By 1980 we had the about face policies of the Carter Doctrine in place. All the current geopolitical policies ongoing in the Middle East correlate to that Doctrine. The resulting deregulating cronyism in the
Minerals Management Service that allowed BP to drill in the Gulf nearly thirty years later, without
proper environmental impact statements and such, and to get away with
sloppy safety measures, were well in place before Obama came to office.
Bush was not the primary cause for that, but his pro oil
administration certainly accelerated the process of looking the other
way and promoting cozy relationships between government oversight from
the President-run bureaucracy and industry.
Katrina was a natural disaster. A natural disaster is an event
where the government can act as a community harmonizer and manager to
solve the problems such an event causes. As such, it is designed by us,
as a people, for that purpose, as a preparation for the "unknown"
though sensible expectation for the probability of such an event
occurring, and the government bureaucracy is supposed to be a
collectively derived organization leading the way with helping people in
trouble. Natural disasters as a rule tend to pull communities
together, because the blame for their causes are not human.
Human caused disasters, as studies have shown, have the opposite
effect (see Riki Ott’s Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill). A whole different set of logical factors goes into the blame
for a human caused disaster. The twenty years following the Exxon Valdez
disaster show how communities were torn apart, and the reasons for that
will be the same as the ones that will tear apart many communities
around the Gulf. These are living human networks of the fabric of our lives that will be
torn apart. It will shred in many ways and affect us all. What are legally determined costs for that? What are
legally determined costs for the loss of ecosystems? Troubling ourselves with such questions raise just
some of the different logical factors involved. They don’t even approach matters of the heart, spirit and soul.
Just follow the upwelling of anger
in the news. Observe the growing feelings of hopelessness as generations of fisherman who
were prepared to begin harvesting these naturally produced food
supplies we all love, the shrimp, the wonderful array of different fish, just as
the season was to begin in May, slowly realize that their lives as they know them have ended. They were just poised to begin their
seasons and they are now out of work, all the money they spend from
their work, the loans from banks they use every year to get through from
the last season and prepare for this one, wasted. The effects are
enormous and they go off on a map like the lights blinking off on an electric grid in a power failure.
The whole network of relationships to that natural source of food goes
dead. Whole networks of community relationships and small businesses
will be ended, for who knows how long. In some cases forever. What are
the "legitimate" costs of that?
These are the fundamentals of structural changes in the way people live in relation to what civilized people would reasonably consider, by their standards, a natural producing vital "resource." A "resource" that depends on self regenerating ecological processes for its own sustainability, a sustainability which is also convenience for the industrial civilized people who can plunder it as a way of life. They can, that is, until something happens. Until then, it’s a "resource" simply taken for granted. There’s no balance book cost to put in an accounting ledger in the GNP to consider it’s existing value when it goes.
So then, what are the "legitimate costs" of changing people’s lives through impacting such taken for granted fundamentals? How should people respond to something this monumental? Can there even be a "should" in such instances? Is "should" not some sense of expected order? What is the expected order that would result from changing the paradigms that people wake up to every day and count on so they can live somewhat planned and orderly lives? Many more questions come spinning out of this crisis. Many of them come back to basic questions regarding human civilization’s respect for the environments of the planet, and the stability those environments provide when they maintain their own, self generating and logical balance. These are questions that lead to the principles explored in our relationship with nature in the field of inquiry known as "ecopsychology."
I started a thread at Thom Hartmann’s message board with
BP’s promise to pay "legitimate costs" as its title shortly after this event transpired. It lasted for several
pages even though all the trolls tried their best to derail it. It was like a troll magnet.
There are many structural (as in logical) reasons why this incident
is a false comparison to what the Bush Administration did with the
government bureaucracy after Katrina, thus it’s inappropriate in any
logical way to try to label it "Obama’s Katrina." It’s interesting to
see their propaganda industry try that angle, because that industry did
so much to deny or at least deflect that Bush’s Administration did
anything in any way wrong in his response to Katrina. Their anti
government mantra smacks dead up against its self created conundrum when
a human caused disaster resulting from lack of government regulation
occurs. Their little mirror techniques of blaming the government after
spending all their efforts to attack it is revealed as a fallacy to even
the least logical of thinkers when they do that. But rest assured,
that lack of logic won’t have any affect on the political blame game. I
can’t even engage people who will fail to recognize that. It’s too much effort. It’s so
basic and so simple, and this is so completely a beyond-comprehension-catastrophe
that I’ve simply run out of patience to go through the same
explanations to the same contrarian anti environmentalists over and over, only to watch them
intentionally repeat their illogical conclusions somewhere else, and get
away with it.
My friends pretty much understand it the same way I do, and it’s the
utter hopelessness of it all that has them so depressed right now.
When one is in one’s sixties and one’s ability to survive in the wild is
mitigated by a naturally declining physical condition, the threat of
catastrophe becomes even more stark when something this huge occurs.
How many people have thought out the relationship between energy and
what they do every day to be able to counter the false analogy "Obama’s
Katrina" as I just did? I don’t know. I don’t know what good it would
do if they could. I don’t know if anything would change.