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Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen

July 1, 2010

Photo of John Wathen (The Locust Fork News-Journal - Rick Dove)

This evening I was introduced to Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen, through Keith Olbermann’s show.  The segment included an aerial video of the Gulf Oil spill.  Dying Dolphins.  Dying Whales.  “Ribbons” of oil.  The “game” has not changed — what the public is being shown is only the very tip of the iceberg.  I cannot wrap my mind around the destruction, the ruined environment, the ruined lives ….. it is as if I am watching this nightmare and nothing can stop it, and I can’t wake up from it.

John’s blog and videos:

On June 25, 2010, David Helvarg wrote an article titled Gulf Oil Disaster:  Not War But Cancer.   I have included a portion of his article: 

With his talk of a battle plan to fight the oil, President Obama has begun to adopt the rhetoric of war. But I’d choose a more appropriate metaphor.

From my own experiences under fire and in ICUs I’ve learned that war gives one the illusion of having control over life and death. Cancer strips that illusion away.

The metastasizing spill in the Gulf is like cancer and the activity 90 miles offshore at the source like a messy surgery. The millions of gallons of toxic dispersants are like chemo, the burn offs, radiation.

No metaphor is perfect but when I hear Louisiana’s Treasurer repeat a common claim among locals that they are in a two front war against BP’s oil in the marshes and the president’s moratorium on new deepwater drilling (just overturned by a Louisiana Judge) I think about my mother when she discovered she had lung cancer. First she went around the house tearing up her cigarette packs and cursing Chesterfields. Later she shrugged, went to the store and bought a new pack.

It’s unclear if America is really prepared to kick its addiction to the 16th and 19th century combustibles of coal and oil. They’re clearly much more addictive than nicotine.

All I can say for certain is that those dolphins and that whale I saw last Monday are probably dead by now and that’s no metaphor, that’s just what’s happening in this ongoing mess BP and the oil industry created that could prove terminal for up to a third of the Gulf of Mexico and its fringing shores.

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