Against the Man
Written in November 2013 in direct support of the small flotilla of boats that went out to confront the 'Noble' Bob Douglas, Anadarko's deep sea drill ship, in New Zealand waters.
Seismic testing causes immeasurable discomfort, distress, and death to marine mammals. As sound waves travel much further underwater than above ground, the area affected is always much larger than the permit area. The marine environments in New Zealand are largely unstudied, but some, (like the Kaikoura Canyon, part of the Kermadec Trench) are so diverse and unique that they have been put forward for classification to a World Heritage area, and some, like the North Island's west coast, are home to endangered species, like the Maui dolphin (54 remaining).
Accidents happen, and if they do, we need a solid plan, a safe way to clean up a spill. Corexit is not safe, especially when mixed with crude oil (it increases toxicity by 72%, causes respiratory illness, skin disorders, and cancer in those exposed even slightly), and it's not a fix-all, in fact, it merely sinks the problem out of sight, only for it to turn up later on beaches or inside fish caught in the area. Nor is our backup plan sufficient.. Three twelve-foot aluminium 'in-Harbour' dinghies, and the promise of vessels from Indonesia or Australia (at least a 3-week journey) is not enough.
The risk is not worth it, not for us (however the top five oil companies have a different perspective.. they want to protect their profit and their $US2.4 billion per year tax breaks). The industry claims 8000 new jobs, but compare that to the 220,000 we currently have in agriculture and tourism (not to mention fisheries). Most of these 'jobs' are also temporary positions. In 2013 alone, Big Oil (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Mobil and Shell) spent $US45 million in lobbying, literally, buying their way into our Governments so far as to require the 'Anadarko Amendment', removing our right to protest at sea, and changing permit classifications to 'non-notifiable' in blatant disrespect for outspoken and reasonable public concern. Life in the Gulf of Mexico (site of BP's Deepwater Horizon Spill) will never be the same. The wildlife is gone. The beaches are unsafe, their seafood inedible, their children, sick with chronic disease.
Alternative options are out there, for a true clean, green Aotearoa. Sustainable biofuels, public transport, and innovative technologies are waiting to be utilized. We need to kick our oil addiction, as a planet. Let's start at home.
released August 27, 2014
Huge thanks to Steve Fowler at Clevetown Studios, and Melissa Hibbert for her backing vocals. You guys are amazing! :)