Observing the bay from the East Beach shoreline — the rocks covered with the sticky black oil, the tidal pools barricaded with floating fences — it is hard to keep faith. Our most favorite playground is contaminated, for birds, fishermen and anyone else. One feels much like a visitor to a carnival on an early morning when the sparkly lights are off and sun exposes the rust on machinery and the shabbiness of it all.

The smell of tar is strong. But the boil lapping at the shore like a disease is, in a way, a secondary infection. It's not just the oysters and the sand that are covered with it, but also the litter that was there before, the sight of which we've become accustomed.

The same oil we are busy cleaning up was used to make the discarded plastic bottles scattered about. The oil is only more disturbing in its visibility as we have to watch the wildlife getting contaminated, whereas with the plastic, we often don't see the fish or turtles dying from it.

The oil floating like black tumors in the water makes the state of pollution we live in simply more obvious. Maybe, if for nothing else, we will be able to ban certain substances after this spill has been cleaned up and something good will come from it.

(4) comments

Gary Miller

If you think banning things is good then we need to ban you.
I'm sure we can get along without you eisier than any product made from oil.

George Croix

Interesting article.
Before you start that banning, though, or before another such penning, take the time to sit down and make a list of all the things that we get as a result of the use of oil and it's products, in some form or other, in some way or other, at some time or other.
No, that would take a very long time, so just make a list of how you, personally, would manage to live without hydrocarbons. How you'd get your food, your water, your clothing should be a first consideration. Even a package of seeds is delivered by truck, groceries by 18 wheeler, water is pumped by electricity generated with boilers using gas/oil/coal.
How would you get to work. Even a bicycle to ride and shoes to walk in require trucks/trains/ships using fossil fuels to deliver them to be sold.
The pen, pencil, typewriter, laptop, smart phone you used to 'pen' the article were courtesy at some point of a brush with petroleum products.
'Green' talking points sound really nice, until honesty rears it's head.
In fact, even the ability to search for ways to make alternative energy sources viable will be provided by the use of petroleum products/services/conveyances.
About that list.
How about listing just ONE thing that anyone not living in a cave, naked, and drinking from a stream/gathering grasses and berries to eat uses/buys/depends on daily that does not at some point in it's life depend on hydrocarbons.
Even the solar cells and windmills are made in factories using hydrocarbon products, and delivered on trucks by same.

Steve Fouga

Learning to do it better with fossil fuels is so important. Cleaner, more efficient. While looking for alternate energy sources.

I value the passion of the devoted environmentalist, because they make the rest of us think. Myself, I guess I'm a "social environmentalist," but a "fiscal industrialist."


George Croix

I draw a big distinction between a devoted environmentalist, one serving the purpose of working hand in hand with life sustaining industry to make our lives as clean as possible while providing for our necessities, and the hoards of clueless nuts who claim the title, while jetting/driving to 'demonstrations', buying 'recycled' products that use more energy to create than what they are meant to replace, and, as in California right now, inanely favoring a minnow over farmers and citizens needing their products.
I'd love to have a nuke powered F-250 to pull the trailers with, rather than feed it diesel (no, I don't think we should use good food to create 'biodiesel - we should eat food, not drive it...we already got screwed enough with ethanol).
But one outfitted with solar cells and wind mills wouldn't pull itself out of it's own way, cost 15 times as much without a 'government subsidy', and the 'green' devices would get knocked off at the first overpass...[wink]
i'm gonna put on some polyester hiking shorts, a nylon fishing shirt, some Nubuck shoes, put on my ZZ Top glasses, and lay in my nylon rope hammock under it's treated lumber frame and think about it some more... [beam]

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