May 30, 2010

Bill Maher talked to Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau about his recent trip to the Gulf where he was as Karoli wrote trying to see if BP's application of the dispersant Corexit was effective or more harmful. Maher asked him if it looked like the federal government or anybody were in charge down there and about the talking point that the oceans will "take care of themselves" after these disastrous oil spills.

Cousteau: It’s getting better. You know I was down in Grand Isle, LA about three days ago now working with some folks in wildlife and fisheries from the state of Louisiana and what I was hearing on the ground was a lot of frustration that for about a month—we’re into what? 38 days now—for about a month nothing was happening and it took the… Jefferson Parish down there, some of the authorities to commandeer the equipment from BP and the contractors to start doing something… Now they’re trying to. It’s a little too late now.

Maher: I hear this on the right wing media outlets. The ocean is so vast and I’ve heard the phrase “It will take care of itself”. That’s bullshit, right?

Cousteau: Yeah. Of course. Of course. Listen…

Maher: I thought so….

Cousteau: The perfect word is… bullshit.

Maher: …is bullshit.

Cousteau: Listen, you know I could cut my leg off, I could cut my arm off, I could gouge my eye out, I’d still probably survive, but not very well, and that’s what we’re doing to the ocean. It’s the life support system of this planet. We’ve been dumping in it. We’ve been polluting it, we’ve been destroying it for decades, and we’re essentially maiming ourselves.

Maher: What is the tipping point? I mean, I don’t know how we had a spill like this, obviously the Exxon Valdez, there was an even worse one in Mexico in 1979.

Cousteau: Yeah.

Maher: But where, that was all those years ago, did that come back, that area of Mexico?

Cousteau: Well you know it’s…

Maher: Do these areas ever come back?

Cousteau: That’s the question. That’s the issue Bill. You know the Florida Keys, third longest barrier reef in the world is a dead zone. 90% of the big fish, the tuna, the sharks and everything are already gone in the ocean. There’s a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico every summer the size of New Jersey where there’s not enough oxygen for things to live. So it’s not a question of can the oceans can take any more. The ocean can’t take any more. They couldn’t take any more fifty years ago. The question is, when are we going to stop?

Like I said, I’ll survive without a leg and an arm and an eye and all these kinds of things but it’s not going to be pretty and that’s what we’re doing to the oceans. It’s not a case of can they take it any more. They can’t take it any more.

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