EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
On this day in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. In the three months that followed, until the underwater well was finally capped, 130 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. With those millions of gallons came images of animals choked by oil slick, stories of the people along the coast whose livelihoods were destroyed and demands for justice for the perpetrators. In that moment, much of the country understood that we were facing an environmental emergency.
Eleven years later, that sense of catastrophe has faded even as the environmental emergency has intensified. That single well in the Gulf of Mexico may be capped, but every day, fossil fuels contaminate our air and seas at an alarming rate. The science is clear: Continuing to pollute our earth with dirty energy will drive entire species to extinction, submerge coastal communities beneath rising seas and otherwise alter our planet for centuries. Yet we rarely see high-profile news coverage of the greenhouse gases leaking into the atmosphere each day, calls for consequences for the perpetrators or real action to support the vulnerable people whose lives are affected most by this destruction.
It’s time to change that.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.