I am perennially disappointed by the stunted anthropocentric values of what our media perpetuates in this culture. Journalists and scientists have somehow confined themselves to a limited forum whereby they only feel their story or research will be taken seriously if it addresses data with respect to its relevance for our current economic paradigm or to people's fancy for convenience. "Nasty Waters, Ruined Oysters: The Oil Spill Comes to Asheville" [May 26 Xpress] is a stark example of this trend.
Why is it that the most extensive article about the oil spill to appear in the Mountain X is really only detailing the superficial tragedy of how this profoundly serious environmental disaster will limit the indulgence of privileged tastes? It is not that the evidence presented in this article is inaccurate; it is that the way in which it evaluates an objective event such as the oil spill only serves to perpetuate comfort and entitlement that we have to continue in industries as unsustainable and environmentally unsound as shrimp trawling.
This is not the way that we should be looking at such a devastating catastrophe. Sure, let us empathize with our fellows who are unable to carry on their livelihood as they have been — but this is far from a cornerstone of how the oil spill is coming and will come to Asheville. The truth is that our economy is fueled by a vast slew of unsustainable industries and cultural expectations that encourage our appetites to dictate our values; and the lack of exploitable fish should really not even be a factor in the lamentations about the oil spill.
If we are to grow up as a culture and race, we need to learn to let our values dictate our appetites and not pamper ourselves when we can't get our shrimp: The shrimp are dead, the wetlands are dying, the birds are covered in oil, the ocean is sick, our system is run by too-big-to-fail corporations for whom there is no accountability. None of us are independent from this cycle of infirmity. The Earth is not happy with our value system and she is not telling us in hints and whispers anymore, and as a service to the public I do think it is time for journalists to step up and write conscious stories that do not have to include superfluous and/or monetary profits and losses to claim legitimacy.
— Jordan Foltz