From the Pandora Papers to Facebook and Instagram being down for a number of hours, you may have missed the fact that there’s an oil spill off the California coast. Honestly, news like this mostly gets washed over now days. Oil spills, like the coronavirus, seem to be a necessary evil that we are willing to live with because we either can’t or won’t make the changes we need to stop the problems they bring.
But, there was an oil spill, and it is a big problem.
So let’s talk about it.
On Saturday, a pipe owned by Amplify Energy (based in Houston) somehow failed. What resulted was 126,000 gallons of “post production crude” to be spilled into the ocean. The company has had noncompliance violations in the past, and overall, is operating with equipment decades old. I mean, I’m not sure if you know this, but saltwater corrodes metal quickly. So, failure is not a matter of “if” it’s a matter of “when”.
Damage to wildlife
You may remember that the Pacific Coast already went through a massive heatwave that killed billions of sea creatures. This time, the oil has coated and destroyed ecosystems in a matter of days. One specific reserve impacted is the Talbert Wetlands. Aside from that, wildlife is washing up on the shores of California beaches, and there is an impact to human health as well. This is important, because people often don’t actually understand what “the ecosystem has been destroyed” means, but they do understand “can harm you or make you, personally, sick”. Which, is irritating, but the months since 2020 have really thrown human self-centeredness into sharp relief.
Look, this blog is not going to change the oil industry overnight. However, as our climate disaster worsens, and as people look towards new energy, oil is being phased out. However, I predict that spills like this will not only continue to happen, but happen more frequently. Why? Because companies are still trying to make the big money, and they are doing it with less funding and less compliance. I can’t point my finger at any specific thing, but it’s clear that companies may be willing to bend the rules to make money. Shit like “an oil spill has now killed wetlands we’ve been preserving for decades” will keep happening.
And this matters, because we need healthy ecosystems for our world to heal from everything we’ve put it through. If you’re sick, you need time to recover. With that recovery comes a host of other things, diet, sleep, vitamins, medicine. You’re not (or shouldn’t) go out and binge drink the day after you’ve left the hospital.
Except, that’s what this oil spill is. It’s just making our planet sicker than it already is, and it’s happening because of aging and outdated equipment that’s not kept up amidst a declining planet.
So what do you do? I mean, vote right? Do your best to cut back on oil products (that means plastics too my friends). To the best of your ability (I know we are all so tired) stay informed about climate issues. Why climate? Because even the coronavirus came out of human interference on animal life. All this trauma that we’ve experienced since 2020 we can tie to climate change. Honestly, it’s a privilege that some of us have been impacted by it for such a short period of time.
I’ll do another blog post on oil impacts to indigenous lands, but you can also begin educating yourself on this topic.