Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sticky Black Death

Big news in the headlines these days is the ecological horror story unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, where tons of crude oil continue to flow into the water from an exploded oil well. People in southern Louisiana are on what is almost a deathwatch as the oil works its way into the hundreds of square miles of wetlands, home to uncountable life forms.

The threat seems especially close, even though I am hundreds of miles away from the ever expanding spill. Being situated on a coast that is easily accessible by ocean currents makes it seem that much closer. But our worries on the east coast of Florida are small compared to the people of southern Louisiana, indeed to all in the Pelican State. I have an old uncle who lives in a fishing camp right at the heart of it all. I suppose it’s very possible that his small stake of land down there is now on the brink of a sticky black death by chemical poisoning.

There is a lot I don’t know about the present disaster and BP’s effort to control it, nor about the federal government’s promises of aid. Still, it is painfully clear to anyone with even a little knowledge of the situation that a solution is late, and that Mr Obama is risking another too little, too late Katrina-style debacle by not moving faster to either assist or replace BP in stopping the oil flow, and then managing the containment and clean up.

Humans, superior beings distinct in the sense that we alone of all creatures have the ability to annihilate and erase life on this planet completely. And we have already proven to ourselves that lessons, especially in war and environment are hard learned and don’t sink in easily. Or it might be, and I suspect it is, that we have become too drunk on profit, expansion, money and greed. What are a few birds and fish, a few rivers or forests to the promise of millions in profit and “progress.”

With that short squawk I’ll step down off the soapbox.

About the two photographs here, either or both might already be familiar. The top photo is a CNN Daily Snapshot, and despite the muteness of a voiceless photo, the pelican’s cry of confusion and fear pours from that raised and gaping bill, speaking volumes. The photo was taken June 4, on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana. The bottom image was forwarded from a Louisiana friend and goes beyond horror and atrocity. It could be captioned, ‘Our Gift to the Planet.’ The dying bird is a young heron from Barataria Bay in the Louisiana wetlands.

Meanwhile, slightly farther east gobs of oil are washing up on beach blankets in Pensacola. I worry that some of it might be carried by current to the east coast of Florida, with damaging or even devastating effect on the turtle nesting season.

1 comment:

  1. This is so horrible! That's really all that I can say.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America