Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Modest Proposal Regarding the Gulf Oil Spill

The AP quotes British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward as reassuring us that the “incident’ in the gulf is going to be just fine. "I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.” Well, there you have it – we are all worrying for nothing. I mean BP and the scientists cannot tell us how much oil is leaking, where it is going, how it will disperse, what chemicals they are dumping in the water, how long the oil will – well you get it – they cannot tell us anything with certainty. But Tony is sure that it is going to be “very, very modest”

Perhaps I should look on the bright side. Instead of focusing on the biological impact of millions of gallons of a poison known for its almost permanent toxicity, I need to look on the bright side. Yes, yes, perhaps that all we need a nice chat with Dr. Phil.

Let’s imagine the upside in all this. Oil is known for its ability to disperse light into prismatic sheen. Imagine the tourist’s amazement when they see the sun rise over the gulf and all that southern sweet crude converts mere sunlight into a rainbow light show. Disney pays millions each year for their fireworks displays over Orlando. But, now BP has given the gift of eternal rainbows to everyone near the beach. Everyone from tiny vending stands to 4 star hotels will see an increase in tourist value all for free thanks to the quiet people at BP.

There must be other ways to turn this frown upside down. Oil is much denser than water so it can absorb heat from the sun far more efficiently. With the modest help of BP our gulf waters will know warm up even sooner that before. Beach tourism can start as early as a month or more earlier and last longer into the Fall.

Here is another modest benefit to make all you grumpy grumps feel better about oil spills. Do not underestimate the increase in employment this will create. Rich people will need their beaches to remain white at all costs so people will be employed taking clean sand from other people’s beaches or even wasteful national parks and carting it to Palm beach. Let us not focus on the mess of cleaning up tar and dead animals – let’s just think of the job opportunities. This economic boom should be long term too. Oil last a long time. Plus imagine the long term careers in oncology as petrochemicals work their way through the ecosystem.

If everyone will quit being so gloom and doom even the worst elements have a happy face. Your beach got hit with a slick? Dead pelicans and dolphins litter your sand? Dispersants created some sort of mutant shrimp that eat lycra out of swimsuits and belch toxic hexane?  Do not worry; even this can be made into a grand opportunity with a modest rethinking. So you think you have a toxic, filthy, blacked, death strewn nightmare on your hands? No, my friend you have prime shooting locations for SciFi channel made for TV movies. Not only will you have a new business opportunity but maybe you can eat lunch with Lorenzo Llamas.

They really need to get the news media working on this hidden story. This is the kind of feel good line that just cries out for Katie Couric’s pixyish little touch. I think Tony Hayward was being modest himself. With a little positive thinking we can look on this as BP’s contribution to a new and exciting tomorrow.

P.S.  Golly I am so excited about this.  I already thought of a modest way to improve tourism thanks to the folks at BP.  We can market our beaches to the Russian and East Europeans.  They would love our warm weather and they are already used to pollution.  Here is the ad campaign:  "America's Gulf Coast - it's the other Black Sea, only warmer and with free suntan oil."

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