Saturday, May 29, 2010

(Updated) Gulf of Mexico Clean Up Efforts and Human Failures to Change Consumption Patterns

The whole situation in the Gulf of Mexico has been sickening to me. Endless finger pointing. Generations worth of environmental damage. Right wing blathering in support of BP, and against the Obama Administration. The Obama Administration's tepid response. And you know what, I still don't hear many people saying "Damn, maybe I need to figure out a way to drive less and use less oil."

I have a soft spot for pelicans, and it seems that every disaster like this ends up having images of pelicans coated and choking in oil. And to be honest, I think almost no one who hops into their car to drive six blocks to get a loaf of bread or a soda thinks for a second about their connection to these pelicans. And the same is true for all of us who are purchasing endless amounts of plastic crap because we "have to have it!", whatever "it" is.

I'm not feeling terribly charitable or kind about all this today. I've tried not to write about it much because it just makes me so angry, and sad, and not very balanced. Mostly, I look at that pelican in the photo above, and think "I'm letting you down. We are letting you down."

Maia over at Jizo Chronicles has a post today about some clean up efforts being organized. If you have an interest in going down there to help, or offering financial support to those who want to go, check out her post. I can imagine there will be a lot of opportunities to do so for a good long while. May we all wake up to suffering we are causing in the world.

Update: Barry over at Ox Herding has some additional resources to consider in his current post.


A Green Spell said...

Thanks for this. I think you have stated what many of us feel and think about this situation. I try to think of the Gulf every day since this has happened, and put that question in mind: How does this action affect the world, our oil dependency, etc.? Just as you said, we all need to keep this in mind every day.

spldbch said...

Thanks for helping to keep us aware of this incident. Too often something big and terrible happens and initially we are horrified. Then we forget about it and go on about our daily lives. This issue isn't going away and there will be ramifications for years and years to come. We can't forget about it.

Author: Maia Duerr said...

Nathan, thank you for this post.

It is incredibly sickening, what's happening in the Gulf, and all the more tragic and poignant because, as you indicate, we are all implicated. Yes, BP is the immediate 'bad guy' here, but to the degree that so many of us (me included) are addicted to oil in the form of driving our cars, we are all in this circle of responsibility.

There was a period of time several years ago that I lived without a car for two years, and that was probably the only time in my life that I finally felt like I was walking my talk. It never ceases to amaze me that otherwise progressive people can slap bumperstickers for peace in Iraq on their cars and not feel the hypocrisy in that. Sometimes I think I'll print up my own bumpersticker that says, "I am aware that by driving this car, I am harming living beings."

Anyway, thanks for your writing... I appreciate the depth of your thinking and your practice.