Letter: Out of sight, out of mind

To the editor;

In his May 15 essay, Black Press chairman David Black notes that a comprehensive study (overseen by Environment Canada) into the behaviour of diluted bitumen (dilbit) when released into gritty B.C. coastal waters found that most of the spill sinks to the bottom within three hours.

Ironically, his legitimate science-supported concern about dilbit’s irretrievability from life and ecosystem sustaining waters may (as ludicrous as this may sound) inadvertently become its appeal to some readers typically apathetic towards our natural environment: The dilbit spill will not be an eyesore after it sinks — out of sight, out of mind.

Why worry about such things immediately unseen, regardless of their importance, when there are various social issues and contemptible politicians over which to dispute?

I see it as analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable traditionally marginalized person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line; and, furthermore, to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie — all the while, the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined is burning and toxifying at locations rarely investigated.

Could it be somewhat similar to the ostrich syndrome prevalent in human nature that allows the immense amount of plastic waste, such as disposable straws, getting dumped out of sight, thus out of mind, before eventually finding its way into our life-filled oceans?

Black’s next sentence clarifies, “There is no way to prevent [its sinking] and no way to retrieve the dilbit, so the ocean and fishery would be ruined for generations.”

But then the same apathetic nature may elicit further shortsightedness — “I don’t eat fish, nor desire to visit the beach, let alone swim in the open wild waters.”

Frank Sterle Jr.,

White Rock

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