Don’t Cry Over Spilled [Oil].

“I’ve seen gross negligence, and this conduct is criminal. There’s a crime scene sitting 5,000 feet below the water.”

Steve Gordon on bp

Yesterday was day 50 of the oil spill. since its inception, approximately 798,000 gallons of oil per day have been pumped into the water. This entire situation completely blows my mind, but what baffles me even more is the lack of awareness on the part of so many people. This is the worst oil spill in American history. If there’s nothing you can do to physically help the people in the gulf area, the least you can do is be aware, & somewhat well versed on the issue in order to continue to raise awareness.

The nonchalance of the American people toward situations like this is a part of why they occur in the first place. We catch on late, give a half-assed attempt at being outraged, and after a little while, move on to the next news sensation (which, again, we have discovered in a delayed fashion). Really, once mainstream media stops reporting about something, we act as if it never happened. Companies like bp know that if they do screw up, they’ll only be under fire for so long before apathy sets in, protests stop, & they can walk away with a few fines & a scolding.

But this isn’t your typical corporate scandal; this is an environmental disaster whose repercussions will take years to fix, particularly if a major hurricane hits the area. Suffice it to say that I don’t have a great deal of faith in the American people to continue to care. Right now, taking action is en vogue. People will buy Dawn because proceeds go to gulf cleanup. They’ll sign petitions to sanction bp, donate to charities supporting relief efforts, and buy gas at Shell. But just wait. Give it a bit of time, and see the number of pseudo-zealots wane when coverage leaves MSNBC for nola.com.

We’ve seen it before. If Anderson Cooper isn’t reporting live from New Orleans, there must not be a need for Katrina relief efforts anymore. If millionaire musicians and actors aren’t making appearances at a benefit concert, surely the victims of the tsunami are doing well, and Haiti will be just fine. it’s like we have ADHD for causes. When a shiny new bit of sadness comes along, we forget about those still suffering.
Wake up. These things don’t just go away.

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