He Soaked Up The Spill For Our Sins - BP oilspill Gulf art

American Oilpocalypse: 5 years & counting

In oilpocalypse by summerburkesLeave a Comment

Coughing up this blog post like a hairball on the 5th anniversary of the Gulf BP oil “spill” is not our idea of a good time. One of the main issues affecting the survival of our species and many swimming others, that disaster physically harmed this writer and caused us to evacuate, abandoning our paid-in-full fixer-upper house in New Orleans.

BP’s lil’ accident and subsequent response has killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of people and animals at this point, and destroyed innumerable wetlands. That gusher poured out 4.6 million gallons of oil a day for three months (and seeped for years afterward, maybe still does), and our government covered it up.

Covered it all up.

There has never been a clearer picture, to an entire region of blindsided, struggling, abandoned people, of who owns whom in this world.

It’s a crazymaker.

Corexit-crude poisoning is slow death like rolling magma. If you’re not breathing it in or swimming in it, you and your family are eating it. If there’s even any seafood to eat these days, the dwindled supply is most likely lacking possession of all eyes and claws, hideously deformed and blackened on the inside.

He Soaked Up The Spill For Our Sins - BP oilspill Gulf art

“He Soaked Up The Spill For Our Sins” – artist unknown

The Gulf War 2: Corexit Boogaloo disaster, like a war, is still something we’d rather not talk about, and even if we’d rather, our doctors tell us not to. It’s always accompanied by the same raft of symptoms: First a squeezing feeling in the adrenals, one on either side, under the lungs, sitting on top of kidneys trying to catch their breath after the chemical poisoning.

We supposedly got rid of Saddam because he chemically poisoned his own people. But Obama? What was that, all that Corexit? A relative of Agent Orange, sprayed over land and sea, almost as if they were lacquering the Gulf to set it on fire.

Still, the BP spillionaires say, Corexit was better than the alternative — oil coating all the shorelines. No, no actually the alternative would have been less press-friendly, but more eco-friendly.

Oil floats, and can be immediately burned off and/or sucked up into supertankers before it reaches shore. That’s how they do it in Saudi Arabia — but in the Gulf, the world’s largest oil field, neither government nor oil company had the necessary equipment standing by.

Corexit makes crude oil up to 32 times more toxic than crude oil alone. One is a natural substance; the other takes that natural substance and turns it into Cajun napalm.

Corexit was and is the killer in the Gulf, applied in three ways: dropped from planes authorized by our military and executive branches to rain down death from above, dispensed on the surfaces of our waters with unmarked boats, and injected straight at the wellhead by the millions and millions of gallons.

The oil and gas industry is exempt from hazardous waste regulations. Did you know that?

Is the Gulf rebounding from the attack? Of course it isn’t. In fact the entire planet’s temperature has heated up, because of ocean acidification. Did you also know there’s a 3243-square-mile tar mat several inches thick, still covering the ocean floor?

Our planet’s ‘heater,’ in the form of the Gulf Stream, is clogged, broken, half-dead. The good people of Louisiana love their home despite the assault, and the resilient Gulf itself will surely bounce back … eventually. Us, we charged to the disaster scene like an idealistic teenager, straight into the poison cloud — then we had to leave or die.

Mack McLendon, founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Village and our mentor in the Lower Ninth Ward where we bought a house in 2009, has passed away at age 61 from brain cancer. The hole in the Ninth Ward’s heart just got a lot bigger.

Ward “Mack” McLendon in front of his Lower Ninth Ward Village. Photo by John McCusker, Times-Picayune 2011

We personally blame oil pollution and chemical-weaponized seafood for Mack’s passing. Turns out the Ninth Ward sits right next to St. Bernard Parish, where fuel is processed, and flaring during gas production makes as much toxic-cloudness and acid rain as 70 million cars.

But they’re kicking ass in that neighborhood, despite a vicious crime wave — with a community-led, farmers’-market, sustainable-architecture, re-housing, re-planting, loving-each-other explosion of movements and organizations. The Lower Ninth Ward is rumored to be the largest non-white sustainable and green neighborhood in the world.

Part of us aches every day still to live in the Holy Cross, in that house we bought by the levee and the bridge and Old Man River. (The other part relishes the Ecotopia where we live now.)

The house we bought with our life savings, the Katrina-damaged house with the moldy furniture and all the family’s effects still in it, stuck in time like a junked mausoleum … we lovingly cleaned and partially restored that house over the course of a year and a half, when not otherwise occupied dumpstering building materials or working a purgatorial job at a famous Jim Crow-era fancy restaurant.

That house has been stolen.

Stolen. Half the house. Look.

take it, just take it all, it's already gone anyway

take it, just take it all, it’s already gone anyway

During the Oilpocalypse, in July 2010, we evacuated back to Northern California, where we know people, and slept in a cold barn for almost a year. In 2011, we tried to sell the house (before it was half-stolen) when it became clear from our own physical fallout that we could never live in our swampy, oily Louisiana homeland again. The house’s buyer defaulted after a year of payments.

Now we’re all the way across the country, up in the woods, having run into the arms of Mother Nature sobbing and begging her forgiveness. Since then, sparing readers the details, more dominoes have fallen, and keep falling, even as we’re lovingly cradled in fate’s arms, protected somehow in this tumbleweed of evacuation and faltering health, pushed onto a new pathway of individuation and natural healing that surely saved our own skin.

Socially, it seems we’ve joined the underclass of people for whom Maslow’s hierarchy of needs precludes any artistic endeavor, and for whom slogging back from illness begets social anxiety and hermetism. The Hermit card in the Tarot deck, though, champions inward discovery, and that’s what it feels like.

First there was the awakening and the unrolling of the tinfoil, researching and making connections and figuring out just how the Racket Fellers have hijacked humanity and sent it on a collision course with itself. Then there was the putting away of those things, once enough was known, and the quitting of Facebook. We’re under strict witch-doctor’s orders to avoid the subject, because our strained body systems physically cannot take it.

Country witchery and woo-woo practices have proven the more economical option for us to Western health care professionals who aren’t sure how to help us adjust our body chemistry to clean out the chemicals they’re not taught to detect because science has been bought out by big industry.

Of course the entire planet is under assault from an invasive species known as humankind, and mama Gaia is chemically poisoned to within an inch of her life, just like we were.

Of course the US military uses more petro-fuel than any other entity on the planet, and BP supplies a massive chunk of it, so they’re buddies for life and fuck all of us.

Of course Halliburton bought the world’s largest oil-spill cleanup company eleven days before the Deepwater Horizon ‘accidentally’ exploded for Earth Day.

Why are you still reading this? It’s a stone-cold downer. We’re actually much happier than this makes it seem.

We asked Actiongrl what we should say on the subject of the Deepwater Horizon’s aftermath. She said people need hope. Could we give them hope?

Not sure. Can we give ourself hope? Well, that’s hard, when our main positive personal solution to eco-murder was getting a diesel car and running nothing but biodiesel in it … then “state regulations” caused the shutdown of every biodiesel pump in the area last month.

So now we’re back to rolling dirty petrodiesel, and it makes us want to cry every time we think about it. Then that squeezey feeling in the adrenals, and then … ::cue “meow Mix” theme song::

But here’s the hope. Generation X is beginning to take the reins. The most understated generation with the most rock-star name, the GenX age group is making inroads into media and social justice, perhaps politely elbowing past the more vainglorious Boomers whose leadership tanked this economy and Earth.

A few years ago, before Occupy and cameraphones shook us up, despair was in the air. Now, it feels like a stirring to waken. We must be who we say we are again, in America and as a human race, and we know it. The Internet is here, and we’re all informed to the point of standing around looking at each other wondering what to do next. That’s progress.

We may be reaching the tipping point of righteous anger leading to positive change. All over the planet, and increasingly in America, people are being displaced, poisoned, and killed by the actions of giant corporations with free rein in Congress and no opposition from the spillionaire-controlled media … we’ll stop here with the big picture, because either you know it or you don’t want to see it.

“There is no negotiating with the established order.” That’s a quote from the I Ching that’s helped us not keel over in the effort to expose heartless oil companies and their media lackeys.

We live in an increasingly fascist America now, but open-source government looms on the horizon. Imagine a Craigslist / Yelp / Reddit, but for all governmental affairs, transparent and unhackable. Imagine a new generation of politicians allowing themselves to be surveilled constantly, the way we regular jackoffs are.

So we may be headed for an extinction-level event. There’s too many of us, as Fear rightly sang in the ‘80s. But all the Hollywood movies and myths throughout history feature a hero who, at the top of the third act when everything seems hopeless, manages to wriggle through to victory, just in the nick of time, in an exhilarating rush.

There’s no reason that can’t happen here.

That’s all we got.



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