Wednesday, October 12, 2011

oil nightmare

It seems pretty clear that the Rena stuck on the Astrolabe reef off Tauranga will break up and the question really is, how bad can it get? So far it is horrendous with oil washing up on beaches, containers sinking and floating around and the destruction of wildlife, wetlands and lifestyles underway. There are multiple degrees of misery to come as the heavy oil spews and this is equivilant to another natural disaster - but it isn't natural - it's man made. Blame? I have plenty to blame but I'm not going to go there at this point, other than to say, as Environment Minster Smith said - this was inevitable. It is always inevitable and if we let the scum who would exploit our earth get their way, we become tainted. They want to drill for oil and gas and dig up our home and this utter disaster is a foretaste of their world. Reject it and reject them I say. I want to take the exploiters to the sick beaches and rub their noses in the foul toxic sludge and i'd spit in their faces, only it would wash off some of their guilt. But it is the time for support to the people, and environment now, the time for blame will come.

Morgan at Maui St has good posts here, here and here
The Rena disaster fucks me off, it fucks me off big time. It goes to show New Zealand does not have the capacity to respond to even the most minor of oil spills. New Zealand does not have the policy mechanisms or the capacity to deal with an actual spill and the consequences thereof - not even a minor spill. Hekia Parata should take note. If she approves oil extraction in the Raukumara this could end up happening to her moana and her whenua in Ngati Porou, but to the power of x1000.
Claire at Pundit
The rock the ship is on, the Astrolabe Reef, is deemed by the regional council to be of “significant conservation value”. Reports this week have described the waters, accurately, as “teeming with life”, “pristine”, with conservationists warning of a. “wildlife tragedy” that will affect whales and seals and many many seabirds - an international scale conservation incident, at the worst time of year.
Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn
This feeds into the second problem: the government's inaction highlights the gulf in values between them and ordinary kiwis. Ordinary New Zealanders regard the environment as a priority, especially where recreation opportunities are concerned. National does not. Witness their enthusiasm to dig up our national parks, their erosion of environmental standards, their foot-dragging on climate change. But now, that attitude is going to bite them, hard. People understand that a government which shared their concerns about the environment would have acted sooner. While this would not have prevented the disaster, it would likely have mitigated it somewhat. Which means that Tauranga residents wouldn't be needing masks to walk on the beach.
I feel gutted by this.

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