Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11, 2015 at 08:46PM by advodna_dave

A sign on the beach warns about globs of tar that may wash up in the surf, and my first thought goes to the two small dots ever present on the horizon (or as Wynne called it the other day, the "boat line") framed by the silhouetted trees. In the evening, you could almost say the lights on these offshore drilling rigs, two of twenty-five located on the California coast, are actually kind of pretty, like tall ships decorated for the lighted boat parade they have at Christmas in Petaluma. But, in light of spills along the Gulf Coast, you wonder if maybe one has sprung a leak and the tragedy it would be to the Santa Barbara Channel if it did. In fact, in 1969, one did create a fissure in the sea bed that resulted in a huge oil slick that blackened area beaches, considered of the first large scale ecological disasters in the U.S. and sometimes credited with the emergence of the environmental movement. But despite tensions from a disaster 45 years ago, recent attempts to ban drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara have failed, squashed by oil lobbies and representatives of the local economy who benefit from them. As I continue to read the sign, I learn that these globs of tar are not from the oil rigs but are natural "seeps" from the rich channel that have been occurring for ages and were used by the Chumash Indians to waterproof baskets, seal canoes and plug holes in abalone shells to make bowls, even traded to inland tribes. Strange to think that these little globs, used by the Indians in the same way they used other resources, sparingly and respectfully, were likely what encouraged these huge international companies to build multimillion dollar platforms to drill here. Now I think I'll get in my gas guzzling truck and pull my heavy trailer 10,000 miles next year. Oops. #conflicted #nopoliticalresponsesplease - posted by advodna_dave on February 11, 2015 at 08:46PM