Oiled Pelican from The Sierra Club on Flickr
No one can turn the news on these days without being sickened. We are getting a first-hand look at what happens when Mother Earth is decimated by those who defile her.
As members of the San Francisco Bay Area population, we have prided ourselves for several decades as being aware conservationists. We have been members of our own California brand of "green pride" since the 60's. Remember the "Save our Bay" campaign? Better yet, remember how the bay once smelled at low tide--before the Save Our Bay Campaign was launched?
In the 50's one couldn't drive by the bay near then Candlestick Park on 101 with car windows rolled down--the stench was horrific. Then, some amazing souls got the idea that maybe our bay was worth saving! Now people, proudly live on the shores of the San Francisco Bay; something our long-departed grandmothers would never be able to understand knowing only the cesspool that the San Francisco Bay had become in their own lifetime.
Now we are dealing with one of the most deadly man-made eco catastrophies in history. Louisiana cried out for help that did not come soon enough as the oil spill in the gulf spread to her shores. The oil destroyed wildlife in its path and nesting grounds on shore; not to mention the entire fishing industry of the Gulf Coast. One man, it is reported, took his own life because his life and lively-hood as a fisherman was ripped away as a result of the spill. God only knows for certain what will happen in the long-run, but for now, the folks in Louisiana have seen their homeland coastline literally killed by this horrible accident.
When the oil began to stream toward Florida, our slow-to-the-party government response team began to perk up. After all, some of those Floridians have family up in New York and D.C., the places that really seem to count, as disasters go. No one could have watched emotionless, as the small child on Pensacola Beach looked at her oil-soaked beach and sobbed to see what had become of her perfect white stretch of sand. Horrific and so very, very sad.
It has become clear that this disaster is a long way from over. It has been said that it is possible that the oil could be pulled around the tip of Florida, and if caught up in the Gulf Stream, the oil could be pulled up the Eastern Seaboard to deposit deadly oil on East Coast beaches that have been safe up to this point, according to Dr. Stephen Leatherman of Florida World University. Is that really possible? One little oil rig out of hundreds that line our coastlines could leak its oil into the water and travel half way around the perimeter of the United States' coastline? According to those most knowledgeable scholars on the subject, it is quite possible; and the ramifications are again, so very sad.
We watch the news on television each night and cover our eyes at the sight of all of the dead sea birds soaked in oil. We have no idea at all what is happening under the water. It is too much to handle. One thing is very clear now that we have been jolted into a crude reality by this disaster; it is time to pay attention to our relationship with our planet. Can we continue to abuse her and expect that we will still have her to nourish and feed us?
Perhaps we need to get our priorities in order before it’s too late. If any good has come out of this tragedy, it is that this spill got everyone's attention. Not much talk from coastal oil drilling proponents, including President Obama, about oil drilling off the coast since this disaster. Suddenly no one thinks more offshore drilling is a good idea. You can always count on politicians to lean whichever way the wind blows. Too bad we couldn't count on them to have had a plan in place to deal quickly and efficiently with a spill in our waters. Too bad indeed.
Many more Sierra Club photos of the BP Disaster available for viewing on Flickr.
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