Beautiful, mesmerizing, nauseating. As oily waves crash upon hundreds of miles of beaches, perhaps a poem can be written about the death of the Gulf. I'm not that poet. If the Gulf must die, I want its death to mark the end of an era.
The Gulf hovers between life and death, 12 miles away from the original wound:
The large strands of sargassum seaweed atop the ocean are normally noisy with birds and thick with crustaceans, small fish and sea turtles. But now this is a silent panorama, heavy with the smell of oil.
There are no birds. The seaweed is soaked in rust-colored crude and chemical dispersant. It is devoid of life except for the occasional juvenile sea turtle, speckled with oil and clinging to the only habitat it knows.
A few dead fish float in the water, though dolphin-fish, tuna, flying fish and the occasional shark can still be seen swimming near the surface, threading their way through the wavy, sometimes iridescent gobs of crude.
The folly of puncturing the surface of the earth in search of more oil has to stop.
We can't resurrect what has been killed. We mourn. We must organize.
Tuesday night, while we despaired over Obama's speech, Marc Ambinder reported the White House strategy for energy and climate. "Be aware: the White House has a strategy here for getting climate change legislation passed. It's called "getting to conference." That is, the Senate needs to pass a bill this year. And then the House and Senate will (in theory) put in some sort of carbon pricing mechanism when the two chambers reconcile their bills. It's just much easier to get bills passed without forcing the Senate to try to pass a bill it does not have the votes to pass." The Washington Post notes a lame duck climate strategy: "several sources familiar with the administration's thinking confirmed it has started pressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring up a slimmed-down energy and climate bill next month. Such a measure would pass more easily than a comprehensive climate bill, and could still be negotiated with the broader bill the House passed a year ago. Under this scenario, the final product of any House-Senate conference could come up for a final vote in a lame-duck session after lawmakers have faced voters in November, thereby cushioning the vote's political impact."
Rumors have Reid cherry-picking parts of various energy bills currently floating around the Senate. Some of those energy-only bills are bad. Some are worse. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have bills that appear good. Reid can pick bad parts of the bills, or he can listen to us and pick good parts.
The netroots can blog accusations of trolls, traitors, pony-wishers, sellouts, Obama-bots, Obama-haters, and whatever else comes to mind. We can attack mainstream environmental groups who've been working on energy and climate issues since there was an environmental movement for being part of a green veal pen. We can debate the merits of comments by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Or we can put aside differences to organize around energy bills and against our common enemies.
Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water off Florida beaches, like forest animals fleeing a fire. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.
We won't succumb to waves of despair. I hope. We will organize. I must hope.
Update: the Liveblog Mothership is your link to the best Oilpocalypse news. Also, 1st photo is credited to Dave Martin of AP, second to Carolyn Cole of LA Times, links in comments.