Some ship accidentally pumped 700 gallons of bunker oil into the pristine waters off Vancouver’s jewel of an urban park. Stanley Park is rightly valued and prized. It is the exception in what is the usual urban blight of big cities. Outrage is warranted.
‘Course no one in that ‘world class’ city noticed or responded for something like 12 hours! The timing is being debated but it was at least 7 hours. They got a leaky boom out after a great deal had already hit the beaches. And this is the ‘world class’ response to a world class city’s most beloved area. This is like the centre of our province imagery-wise, and we were asleep at the helm. And the ducks died.
Imagine a spill anywhere else on the coast. You have to imagine it because no one is there to see it or report it or respond to it. Our coast is more exposed to pollution and slime than a porn star.
A spill on the coast would be horrendous. It will die.
And so will a number of other creatures in the Stanley Park spill according to the aquarium staff. Only 700 gallons (average amount that an SUV uses in a year) and there is a world class finger-pointing, responsibility-ducking hysteria in full-blown blaming-of-others. It is a minor disaster in a world of disasters but it still qualifies – especially as a disaster in management and governance.
As an aside, Enbridge didn’t show up to volunteer their help (there is an unsubstantiated report that Enbridge owns the spill response company that eventually did show up – and will bill for their time, I am sure. It was substantiated. They DO own it along with KinderMorgan Pipeline – the two potential creators of disaster have a for-profit company to send out when they screw up and so they can bill us! ) They of the lying-variety ads that professed that ‘they lived in our communities and loved nature’. The province did ‘squat’ but, to be fair, they have not invested in any kind of relevant response to anything environmental for decades including the latest debacle – Mt. Polley.
The Feds did…kinda….by way of the nearly eviscerated Coast Guard who did what they could given that they are no longer situated where they needed to be – the local station having been closed by the Feds two years ago. The boat they would have used was in mothballs. And, of course, the city that is selling out just pointed fingers.
World class? If that’s world class, it sure ain’t good enough. Responsibility, accountability, real work? Missing in the inaction. Politics and blaming? Everywhere. It’s embarrassing.
But here is the real reason for the blog (yes, some of it is for venting, I admit that freely). People showed up at the beach offering to help. People volunteered instantly. The citizens responded without waiting for the blame to be placed or even for the proper equipment to be in place. They came with towels and bags, I guess.
The PEOPLE SHOWED UP!
And THE AUTHORITIES PROHIBITED them from getting near the scene of the slime!
Does that make any sense? Isn’t that ‘instruction’ to stay away almost in the same category as screaming ‘Get on the ground! Get on the ground now!’ from police exercising some type of misplaced control response founded in nothing logical whatsoever? Why not let the people help? So what if they get gooey? They are over 19 (presumably) and know what cleaning up an oil spill means. Why do the people listen to those idiots? Why didn’t the people save the duck anyway and just say, “Well, after I have saved this little tyke, you can take me to jail.”
The disaster is NOT just in the oil spill. Like our politics, like our society, like our collective dysfunction, the disaster is in us. (For the record, there were reports of people doing just that – disobeying the authorities- and helping anyway. Great people in my book!). I swear that had I been there – and I am just as afraid of being shot and tasered as the next guy – I would have disobeyed the authorities and saved a duck! Call me a crazy criminal if you want to, but I would do that (as did a few Vancouverite free thinkers).