The Big Deal.

For the last 24 days, one of the worst environmental disasters in our history has been unfolding.

Hello?  Is this thing on?

Right.  Okay.  Did you catch that?  You know, that there is this Very Big Thing happening in the United States, RIGHT NOW, that happens to be one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of our country?  And, that it is STILL going on?

Here’s a video.

Actually, that video shows ONE of the two places where gas and oils are pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

You know, Louisiana.  Remember?  The State that has the city of New Orleans?  Where the rest of the country looks to boost their ego, find something to pity, and generally feel superior?

Oh.  You remember now.

Okay, I know that I’m sort of being a bitch here.  I’d apologize and hold my punches, but seriously?  I’m pissed off.

It’s mind-numbing, but I can think through the fact that more than 200,000 gallons of oil are  rushing into the Gulf each day — and have been for over 24 days, making the estimated volume of oil more than 5 million gallons.

It’s frustrating, but I can think about and make choices regarding the toxins I’m breathing in — the ones that have made my eyes red and burning and my children cough.  Kate had a birthday on Sunday and got a bicycle… and you know what?  She hasn’t ridden it outside yet because the air smells and I know that this is the smell of H2S and VOCs.  Too low a concentration to say, kill us in minutes, but enough that my eyes are red and my son is coughing.

It’s just a little thing, but I can sign up for Volunteer Service for Oil Clean Up (yep, and I did, with two different sites).  I can also read the news and dig up monitoring data and do whatever I need to do to feel on top of the information about this incredibly terrible disaster.

But I can’t take the bullshit comments from idiots.

“Yeah, it’s bad, but it’s not as bad as the Valdez,” says a commenter on’s fantastic photography site, The Big Picture.

Oh.  Okay.  If tomorrow there is a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and it kills 150,000 people in less than 5 hours, will you minimize it?  How about another earthquake in an incredible poor, vulnerable, urban city that “only” kills a half a million people?  Are disasters not important or news worthy or attention grabbing unless they play on some pathetic measure of trumping the last?

And then there’s the guy who says “The ocean will fix its self. It’s not as big a deal as the liberal media will have us believe.”

Oh, totally.  5000+ gallons of oil pouring out daily for 24 days with no sign of stopping, covering hundreds of miles of endangered coastline, impacting waterways and ecosystems that supply roughly 25 percent of ALL domestic seafood and 75 percent of all seafood harvested from the Northern Gulf.  Millions of gallons of oil right off of hundreds and hundreds of miles of United States coastline.

Sure.  This is absolutely no biggie.

But just how BIG is something that is no biggie?

Hmmm.  Well, a week ago, May 6th, THIS is how big the oil slick had grown… 2500 square miles.

Gulf Oil Spill, May 6th:

On that map, you’re looking at the Eastern Louisiana Coast, the Mississippi Coast, the Alabama Coast, and the Florida Coast.  No biggie.

But it’s still not really clear, is it?  It’s just sort of out there in water.

What if that spill were covering another part of our country?  Maybe New York?  Er, rather, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut?

What if it covered Boston?  Oh, and 2500 miles of places around Boston.

What about the Bay Area?

What color would the Golden Gate Bridge be if it was covered in reddish dripping oil and tar balls?

Don’t want our neighbors feeling left out, either.  Vancouver?  How would one protect all those tiny islands?  What would the forest smell like, if oil dripped through the canopies and seeped into layers of earth?

Ooh, la la!  Paris?  Do you think that the lights on the Eiffel Tower could still be seen if they were covered in oil?  Would you still be in the mood to sit outside and eat bread and cheese at the friendly sidewalk cafe?

You know, what if it were right on Capital Hill?  Can you picture the oil, splattered in blacks and reds, on all our beautiful white monuments?  Senators slipping on tar as they walk up the steps to the Dome?  Tourists getting stuck on the muddy pathways through The National Mall?  Maryland and Virginia wouldn’t be left out.

And these pictures represent what the oil spread was like one week ago.  One week and more than 1.5 million gallons ago.

And many consider those numbers — the 210,000 gallons a day — to be low estimates.

What is happening here is a BIG DEAL.  Maybe one of the Biggest Biggies Deals that we — yes, we — as a country, we, have ever had to deal with.  Because it will impact all of us.  More than just fishermen and sea birds and shrimp, this growing storm is coming at us.

Let’s talk about it.  REALLY talk about it.

For starters, if you’re talking about it, link your post here.  I’ll focus a section of our Just Posts to focus specifically on what regular folks are saying.  I want to know that people in Vancouver and San Francisco and New York and wherever … are thinking about this.  It’s maybe selfish to ask, but really, I’m asking.  Because it would make me feel so much better about it all.