Thursday, April 29, 2010

Loss of Life in the Gulf of Mexico - Spill Baby Spill

It had been several years since I drove from New Hampshire down the eastern coast of the United States. The array of harsh toxic smells that choked my airways as I made my way from one busy port to the next disturbed me. One does not need a degree in science to know that the billowing stacks surrounded by seemingly blackish dead water were omitting something bad – a combination of sulfur and rotten eggs. The pungent odors forced me to pull my shirt over my nose and mouth.

I tried to let it go. Right. I was excited to get away from the unforgiving New England winter, wiggle my toes in the white sand and write a novel. The true state of our environment was definitely inconvenient; it was a shock

Spoiled, I come from a pristine world with little or no crime, clean air, safe water and a community that cares about recycling and sustainability. My world does not consist of factories or energy plants and there are no puffs of white steam or black smoke from looming brick stacks or overcrowded highways.

What was I thinking? I missed the clean white snow before I even had a chance to dig my toes into the sand.

I am generally unimpressed by the inland suburbs of Florida. The crime rate is high and there is a great deal of poverty and apathy. I am highly concerned about the toxicity in the water, air and soil, as well as the rapidly growing endangered species list. (There are less than 100 Florida Panthers to date).

However, the beaches are a different story. I absolutely fell in love with the warm turquoise water, the gentle tides and the dazzling shells. I visited 32 beaches and 3 islands during my first winter. Aware of the depleted fish population, erosion and other dangers, I was elated when I discovered that the sea life on the beaches seemed to be thriving.

On my first trip to Marco Island, life was so abundant that all along where the waves rolled upon the shore, small scallops clattered like castanets – opening and closing – reminding me of an old cartoon.

I love to observe the present sea life. Yellow tape marks where sea turtles have laid their eggs. Just last week I saw a large moon jellyfish floating along the shallows at Englewood. Pelicans – like proud squadrons – dive straight into the water, bobbing to the surface with a nice fish flapping in its crop. Ospreys sit on the pilings awaiting the opportunity to snag a fish while black headed gulls wait for a beachgoer to drop a potato chip or sandwich crust. A pair of dolphins swims along the horizon, sometimes stopping to frolic. Great blue herons stand along the shoreline with the angler, eyeing the trough where the baitfish swim in a constant stream.

Everywhere I go, I see long legged wading birds…in marshes, trees, canals and even in large puddles in parking lots. After the sobering drive down the eastern coast of the United States, the presence of the beautiful water birds took me aback. What a relief. The birdlife is alive and well.

I collect sharks teeth, fossils and shells for making handcrafted jewelry. I walk along the beaches for spiritual nourishment and creative inspiration. I always thank the Gulf for her beauty and gifts. I joined many people in their ‘Hands Across the Beach’ demonstration as a solidarity movement against offshore drilling. I learned what Mosaic means and how critical it is to the future of our planet. I pick up other people’s trash.

I was disappointed when President Obama stated that he intended to move forward with the production of new oil wells. I was horrified when I discovered that there are immeasurable toxins sprayed into the skies for more reasons than I have time to explain, by the government for altering weather, scrambling communication satellites and defense testing. The amount of metals in the soil and water are noxious and life threatening to humans and eco systems, but there are no limits, because of Bush giving a free ticket preventing “our right to know.”

Now we have this unbelievable oil disaster. 5,000 barrels a day. Not gallons, barrels. One fire-fighting expert told the BBC that the disaster might become the "biggest oil spill in the world.”

Experts predict that it is probable that the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster that took place in 1989 is going to pale in comparison to this as it continues. Why did this happen? Why did it take so long for the disaster crews to use the protective oil curtain? I am not an expert, but this is beyond tragic. I will join the volunteer effort to clean the Gulf beaches and assist in the saving and cleaning of affected wildlife.
Then there is the pit bull with lipstick chanting, “Drill baby drill.” She needs a reality check. “Spill baby spill” is more accurate. She has no sense, an amazing amount of followers and extreme arrogance. Pit bulls – known more for their ability to attack and kill than for their intellect – should remain leashed.

What will it take to end this suicidal greedy behavior?

1 comment:

  1. At this time it is estimated that 200,000 gallons a day are spilling into the Gulf.