BP Oil Spill: Let’s Call It What It Is

At many times in my life I’ve been a grammar cop, but most of those times I was just being a stickler for language. It means a lot to me but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t as important that “conversate” and “irregardless” are not worlds as it is important that we have the clear and correct language to name events like BP’s oil spill what it is.

Firstly this isn’t much of a spill, leak seems more accurate then even better would be the word geyser…with oil instead of water.


Main Entry: gey·ser
Pronunciation: gahy-zer
Function: noun
Etymology: Icelandic Geysir, hot spring in Iceland, from geysa to rush forth, from Old Norse; akin to Old English geysa to pour, to gush
Date: 1780

1 : a spring that throws forth intermittent jets of heated water and steam
2 British : an apparatus for heating water rapidly with a gas flame (as for a bath)


NPR explored the “oil spill” terminology issue further in the article Is ‘Oil Spill’ The Right Phrase For What Is Happening In The Gulf?
I think the phrase “oil spill” is lazy journalism and a cut and paste mentality, but let’s move on.

I also take issue with the usage of the word “accident” in reference to this disaster and maybe Van Jones’ words can shed some light on that if that sounds odd to you in Van Jones On BP’s Oil Spill And The Next Economy.

In my writing I continue to call this disaster an oil spill for the search engines and people who know it as that but I’m careful to label this oil spill as belonging to BP. I feel calling it the oil spill in the Gulf let’s BP off the hook and divorces them from what they did. We still call the Exxon Valdez oil spill what it is and why should this be different.

Next up is the word that needs to be used to describe what is taking place in the Gulf region: ecocide.


Main Entry: eco·cide
Pronunciation: \ˈē-kə-ˌsīd, ˈe-, -(ˌ)kō-\
Function: noun
Etymology: eco- + -cide
Date: 1969

: the destruction of large areas of the natural environment especially as a result of deliberate human action

Src: mw2.merriam-webster.com


It’s got weight and punch. Maybe even the punch as hard as I felt in the heart the first time I saw the photo above. It’s lost some of its sting now but this bird looks like a monster. Think of all the destruction that needs to happen to make a bird look like a monster.

At first I never wanted this photo on my site but images like this need to be shown. Sadly this happens all the time and you can learn more about ecocide at thisisecocide.com

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