Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Can you handle the truth about the Gulf oil spill?

The Gulf oil spill wasn't as bad as feared, according to Margaret Wente writing in the Globe and Mail. And if she's right, I think most people can't handle the truth.

She thinks we prefer the story of evil and so we can't accept the reality that the oil spill was bad but not that bad:’s worth asking why we’re so determined to cling to the narrative of catastrophe. I think it’s because we saw the spill as a giant morality tale: evil versus good, rapacious oil interests versus the environment, greedy consumers (that’s us) versus oil-soaked pelicans and the unspoiled natural world. The visuals were devastating, and the coverage was relentless. The media took turns hyping the disaster. They had a lot invested in this storyline and, when it took an unexpected happy turn, they couldn’t handle it. They couldn’t even see it.

Luckily for us, they were wrong. “Nature’s resilience is truly magnificent,” writes Carl Safina. And that’s a good thing.

I don't know enough about the oil spill to say whether she's right. It's probably too soon to tell, and the real losses do matter even if some animals are thriving. Human systems will suffer for a long time, thanks to skepticism about the cleanliness of Gulf seafood. But I do think she's right that Armageddon didn't come for ocean ecosystems.

1 comment:

Fish Whisperer said...

Even if Armageddon did come to the ocean, those who know would never tell.