I've been watching in amazement as a massive oil slick--larger than many small countries--slowly makes it way to the Gulf coastline, some of our nation's best fishing grounds and most biologically diverse ecosystems. Because of the strong winds, it should reach land soon (or already has), and the choppy seas are making attempts to clean it before it makes landfall very difficult. This could easily be the single greatest environmental disaster I have witnessed in my modest lifetime, and it is something so big, I can witness it from space! My simple question is:
Where is the damn outrage?
Seymour Friendly has done a much better job than I at tracking the disaster and the very weak reaction from the top environmental groups in the country. The lack of forceful response from “green” groups is completely disturbing. As of this morning, the front page of the Seirra Club's website makes no mention of the massive oil slick speeding its way to our shores! This is a huge ecological disaster of historic proportion in the making.
I don't even consider myself to be a diehard environmentalist, obviously I have other top personal issues, but this surreal catastrophe has me truly shaken. The thing that really sickens me is that I know the news is only going to keep getting much worse for days and weeks to come. I don't even want to think what the eventual level of ecological and economic devastation will be.
Where is the rally cry?
This is the type of massive, clearly visible disaster that has a chance to create a whole new generation of environmental activists and supporters. Where are the groups trying to rally young people into long-term activism based on this outrage? There can't be a more vivid example of how easy it is to destroy the environment, and why regulation is needed to prevent powerful corporations, in their endless pursuit of greater profits, from engaging in the dangerous corner-cutting practices that result in tragedy.
This giant glob of oil is why we need wildlife preserves! This is why we have an Environmental Protection Agency, and it needs to have teeth. This is why we need green technologies that are not based on fossil fuel. This is why we must require companies to submit to safety and environment regulations. Where are the groups trying to flood the zone to make this case before the nation?
This is the time to galvanize a huge swath of young people and make them environmentalists for life. It is an opportunity to push back against the Republicans' decades of assault on common sense regulation. Yet, with the best opportunity in decades to advance environmentalism in the public conscience, the green groups seems to be completely flat footed. The relative silence and lack of strong action is deafening.
I feel like I'm not just tragically watching a slow-motion disaster of a giant blob of oil slowly moving to devastate part of our gulf coast, but I'm also watching perhaps an even greater slow motion disaster of failing to get Americans to care so they can be rallied to demand action that could prevent this from ever happening again. Where is the outrage?