The Toxic Miracle

As both an earth scientist (deeply interested in coastal geology and ecosystems…. which I was within a breadth of my life enrolling in for grad school), and a citizen of the earth, I have been watching the BP oil spill unfold with deep interest. I have not yet been able to articulate my thoughts, as they are so random: thoughts ranging from the technical to the political, the science to the humanistic, the ecosystem to the economy. It  all seems so impossible to articulate in one  single post. I struggle between fear, sadness, and intense anger.

Miles beneath the surface is the final resting place of many organisms, their very tissues changed under intense pressure to become a dichotomy, a toxic miracle.  A miracle that keeps our homes heated, our cars running, allows us to trade wares with far away lands, circumnavigate the globe with relative ease.  A miracle that kills, pollutes our water, lowers air quality, costs us lives and threatens security.  And now this toxic miracle sullies the Gulf, harming birds, and marshes, shrimp, and an entire ecosystem.  It threatens the livelihood of many along the Gulf, and devastate entire countries bordering the Gulf struggling to maintain economic existence.  And I can tell you, scientifically speaking, their current course of action I fear is the best they are going to do.  Until a pressure undergoes equilibrium between the ocean and the oil under insane pressure, no amount of mud that you attempt to cap it with, or trash you shoot down there or cap you put on it is going to make any difference.

I have heard it all during this spill.  “It is just a bird.” “Environmentalists have caused this disaster.” “I don’t care if you cover the country in windmills and solar panels, it isn’t going to make any bit of difference.”

All absurd. Simply absurd.

I have only been to the Gulf  once as a child (and being as fair skinned as I am, I can tell you I did not entirely enjoy the experience). I have no real fond memories of the Gulf.  It does not matter.  Today, and throughout this, I am with them.  These things matter.  The hard-working people there matter.  They drive entire industries with their sheer grit and determination.  The wildlife there matters, and for many more reasons than we like to look at it (which is reason enough for wildlife protection).  The marshes provide important buffers to our water supply, fish and birds on insect control. Upsetting the balance can be devastating.  Environmentalists matter.  They push for the environmental and safety regulations that obviously have been overlooked for way too long.  And windmills, solar panels, and alternative sources of energy will and do make a difference.  They are miracles all on their own, sans a toxic nature.  Any measure to lessen our dependence on oil makes a difference.  To say otherwise is blatantly false and intensely shortsighted.

Today, I struggle with my inability to take action in this terrible calamity.  But I look to how I can help.  I can help by raising awareness.  I can help by driving walking more, buy from local vendors, lessen my personal dependence on oil.  I can support my friends in the Gulf. I can talk hard, write loud, and demand more from those in positions of power, whether in our government or the CEO’s of large corporations.

Because this, this is simply unacceptable.

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3 Responses to “The Toxic Miracle”

  1. Deb Rox 8 June 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I’ve felt this for the last few weeks, so I’m glad to see you put words to it–Until a pressure undergoes equilibrium between the ocean and the oil under insane pressure, no amount of mud that you attempt to cap it with, or trash you shoot down there or cap you put on it is going to make any difference. If we didn’t already know how to manage that massive pressure, we won’t be able to invent a solution with the proper tools to pull it off that deep within a few more weeks, right? Oh, it’s just so hard to comprehend the enormity of loss. Thanks for standing against what is unacceptable.


  2. Corina 8 June 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Well, there is something to be said about finding amazing solutions out of necessity. In yesteryear, we were able to devise some pretty spectacular things in very short amounts of time. However, we are fighting pressure EXTREMES and lack of imagination (I mean trash…. really?). Here is to hoping I am proved wrong.


  3. grandmom Lor 9 June 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    You are so right. It is a disaster beyond words. I feel like I am going through the steps of grief. Anger is first to arise then extreme sadness. Denial is next, I tried not to listen to the news, the failed attempts to stop the spill and all the lies that went with it. Then and right now the anger is welling in me to the point of screaming. I fell that we have left our MOTHER down. Our Mother Earth has cared for us,sustained us in hard times and has given us unbelieveable beauty and wonder. I call on all that can express this loss and come together in the coming months and years to put it right, to give back to our Mother Earth some of what she has given us. Volunteers Unnite!


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