The Gulf of Mexico/BP oil spill was the top story worldwide for weeks after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Fixing it was a live media event. A video feed from the gushing blowout preventer was a constant presence on cable television shows. Stock traders seemed to buy or unload BP stock depending on the status of the man-made machines below the waters.
Something about the idea that humans caused this spill and that humans could similarly fix it live on camera gave the story a narrative that justified 24 hour coverage. But what do we make of this whole idea of “man-made?”
Some argue that the heat-wave in Russia is a consequence of the man-made warming of the planet. The same has been said about those floods in Pakistan. How would our coverage of global warming be different if there was an obvious and dramatic blowout preventer visual showing the climate under catastrophic stress? Because it was a man made accident the BP disaster got the top headlines. Does that mean global warming is not an accident? Planet earth needs a good blowout preventer right about now.