Friday, June 04, 2010

BP Left More Than Their Footprints

Well this morning tar balls started washing ashore at Gulf Islands National Seashore. This is the most gorgeous stretch of beach you will ever see. So what are tar balls? Tar balls look like dog doodoo or dukey or poo or whatever you call it. They are brown and shiney and warm. How do I know they are warm? I stuck my toe in one when I thought it was a piece of driftwood. Whoops. I just gave Tony Hayward, BP head another excuse for what these could be.
The green in the picture is June grass, it's a yearly occurence and used to be the bane of my existence. I will never ever complain about the layer of swamp grass in my bathing suit again because next time I swim in the Gulf my bathing suit will be full of tar balls. I'll take June grass any day.

More seaweed and June grass and tar turds, uh, balls.

And more. I wish I could have gotten a picture the length of the beach to show you all just how many of these there are. I wish I could make everyone see what we have to lose if we don't change our dependency on oil. And yeah, I'm embracing my radical ways once again. We as a society have failed the earth, our children, and future generations all in the name of "get me there faster" and convenience. An inconvenient truth, yep sure as hell is.

I left my footprints.

This picture is supposed to be of some surfers getting in their last ride before the Black Tide hits. Maybe if you biggify it(that's Annette's word) you can see them.

Yep that's a tar ball next to my footprint. Maybe we could give the BP execs a tar ball enema? Because that's just about where I want to stick their well.

While walking along the beach I saw the very edge, the curved edge of this perfect sand dollar peaking through the sand. I expected to only pull out a piece of it but amazingly enough it was in one piece. I posed it on a piece of drift wood and was reminded that even when one is having apocolyptic thoughts, end of days kind of crap, some beauty can be found if you only take moment to see it.
In my younger years I was an idealist. I had this vision of the person I wanted to be, I defined myself a certain way and somewhere that girl got lost. She became the person she used to ridicule, the person who quit looking beyond her back yard. The person who accepted the unacceptable just because that was how it was supposed to be.
When I was pregnant with my oldest son we lived in Ohio, there was an oil refinery in town. I didn't know what that meant being a transplanted Tennessean. One day at lunch, I worked at one of the local hospitals, I was talking with a coworker and mentioned all the strange cancers young kids had and the fact that every one my age was on fertility drugs in the lab where we worked. She begin to tell me about the oil refinery and how she blamed it for the infertility and strange cancers. I quit drinking the local water and started buying fresh produce and eggs from the local Amish farmers. I read Diet for a Small Planet and I Shopped for a Better World. I became a vegetarian. I tried so hard to make a difference and then somewhere along the way, I just started accepting, I ate a bacon cheeseburger. Life was what it was, I couldn't change anything, I couldn't make a difference and I was so tired. I surrendered to life and became just like everyone else.
Now 23 years later, I have found that inner activist. I have found my flower child. Over the next few weeks and months, I plan to change. Somehow, someway I'm going to make a difference.
Don Henley wrote in the book Heaven is Under Our Feet, and I'm paraphrasing because I can't find the book, it's in the garage somewhere, that sometimes you have to give people what they need not what they want. Basically, we're back to the inconvenient truth. Living greener is not convenient, it's not even pleasant and honestly I don't know if it's even doable. But I do know this, we can all make changes and I learned years ago when I wanted to boycott another company over their infant formula practices that some companies have their brand everywhere. You think you are boycotting only to discover that you have a house full of their brand only it's cloaked and you've been unknowingly supporting them after all. So I don't think a boycott of BP is realistic. I never buy gas there, the only times that has ever happened was when I was on the road and it was my only option.
The Gulf is my Walden Pond and I've let her down. I've lived a life of convenience and made choices that weren't in her best interest. I hope over the next few months to make some serious changes. Can I do it? I don't know, hell I don't even know exactly what to do. I just know that things have got to change, people have got to change, we as a society have to make those hard choices because they are right and not choose the easier road.
I hope with all my heart that the Gulf will be able to revive herself and flourish again. I have seen some interviews that offer a lot of hope in that direction but I fear that this is going to be just too devastating for her.


Margaret said...

And now they're saying the oil is going to ride up the East Coast this summer, on the Gulf Stream. Really fast. It's just awful.

Denise said...

I recycle. Probably not enough, but I am doing what is available in my town. I drive only when neccessary and combine errands. But, how do we fight this ecoterrorism? And that is how I see what is happening in the Gulf. Surely, BP should have had plans for tragedy. And 46 days later the pipe is still spewing oil? And Obama is "furious". What about the lives being ruined, the habitat, the future of our kids? Furious - that's it???

Sorry for the rant - my apologies to anyone I offend, but seriously what is going to be done?


Nancy M said...

It's an awful thing that's happened and I don't see many people in high places taking responsibility or moving very fast to fix it. I think about you all the time when I hear it is headed to the pan handle. It truly is the most beautiful beach in the US.

Deb said...

I saw all the mess this evening on the news. I think this has to be one of the most awful things to happen. You wonder why more safeguards weren't put in place. It really made me sick to see birds covered in that stuff - they said as thick as pancake batter.

Missy Ann said...

You don't have to be perfect. Small things add up. If everyone did just the stuff that was easy we'd all be so much better off.

Sylvia said...

Thank you for a thought provoking post. Yes, in this day & age living greener is not convenient, it takes work and time. But I am a firm believer that every bit helps.

I do boycott, because often that is the only thing I have to make myself heard - my money in my pocket. I try as best I can not to buy anything from China, I don't buy gas from Exxon/Mobil etc...

Things are a bit easier here in Germany - its easy to get local products from local farmers, they recycle almost everything, and I can take pubic transportation or ride my bike.

Katrina said...

I think there are manageable things we can all do, recycle, buy locally. Since I am a houswife, I try not to drive everyday, I usually get out one or two days a week and combine trips and I stay within a small radius of my home most of the time.

I think if I wanted to directly do something for the BP crisis I would volunteer to help clean the animals.

I know this has been beyond frustrating and upsetting for you! Every time I turn on the news the images just break my heart.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. My heart has been breaking for what is happening to my beautiful Louisiana, and now the other beautful states that I have visited/lived in are well on their way to suffering too :(

I agree that you can't change the world on your own, but you never know the impact your baby steps have on the future and I fully believe in 'never give up.'