Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tears of the Earth

Just hours after the 40th anniversary of the celebration of Earth Day, we watched in horrific anticipation as the giant oil rig exploded and burned off the southeastern coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. As oil rig workers died, joining their coal mining brothers who passed on the previous month from coal dust and methane explosions, we were assured that the giant crippled structure lying askew in the warm gulf waters did not pose an immediate risk of an oil spill.
Until the thing sank and caused a massive oil leak from a mile down on the bottom of the ocean.

Now, after weeks of gushing oil pouring up and out of the earth, we watch as the beautiful Gulf of Mexico is poisened and the livlihoods of thousands of fishermen, tourist workers and others are put in jeopardy. Four million gallons of brown oil is spreading death to countless marine life and fouling beaches and sensitive coastal marshes.

In our unquenchable thirst to slake our addiction to oil, we repeat history. Just as the Valdez was drunkenly run aground in that once pristine Alaskan bay, ruining the environment for years and decades, so too will this disaster cause destruction and pollution well into the middle of this century.

Mother's Day was last weekend, but far too many of us forget our one true mother: that who is our Earth. She is crying under the unbearable weight of her nearly 7 billion children. One day that weight will be too much to bear. Until then each one of us must do more to change the way we carry ourselves and impact the planet. Is that shiny new SUV or truck worth the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico? Does 20 miles per gallon mean we need to tolerate four million gallons on our beaches?


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