Oil spills

If you think the spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bad (and it is very very bad) then you should pay a visit to Nigeria. Ed Kashi did, many times, and the results can be found in his excellent book "Curse of the Black Gold" and online here. Recommended viewing/reading. I read the book in one sitting last year. Gripping and informative: journalism at it's best.

Today the New York Times ran an article which in the opening paragraph stated that "The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless."

Hannah Baage walked through polluted Gio Creek in Kegbara Dere. She said recently, "There is Shell oil on my body."

Credit: Jane Hahn for The New York Times

That kind of puts a bit of perspective on the Gulf spill, serious though it is (and it is very very serious). Also, may I take the opportunity to complain about the whining that is going on about Obama and the way he's handling the situation. Sure, it's a major fuck up by BP and it's associates but what the hell do people think Obama is going to achieve by strolling along the beaches of the gulf and looking all concerned as he visits the people and places down there. I get the impression that some people won't be happy till he dons a scuba suit and caps the damn well himself.

Surely he'd be better off working to come up with a comprehensive plan on energy and climate change, forcing the energy companies to provide us all with solar panels and community wind turbines then switch their roles from energy providers to support and maintenance of the technology so we can all have safe, clean energy generated in our own back yards and not farmed and shipped to us from miles away in such an inefficient, harmful and costly manner. Not to mention how that would tackle the problem of the physical danger faced by people currently working to dig and drill for fossil fuels and the environmental costs when things go wrong. Surely that is what Obama should be working on. Or am I being insensitive to the needs of the Southern Gulf states?

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