Friday, July 2, 2010

The Beautiful Gulf Coast

Some of you may be surprised that we are 74 days into the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and I haven’t yet written about it. I’ve wanted to. I’ve even sat down and begun to write several times. But then my emotions take over and I find myself unable to articulate my thoughts in any rational manner—I’m furious! And fury often paralyzes me. This is the worst environmental disaster in our (certainly my) lifetime! BP continues to lie, hide and obstruct the American public about what is happening; barring the media, continuing to use a toxic chemical dispersant that hasn’t been approved by the EPA—who knows what the long-term impact of that will be on sea and shore life; fish, fowl and human—not protecting the safety of clean-up workers, and threatening workers with termination if they speak out about what’s going on. I’m flabbergasted! This is America; those fuckers are in our waters. How dare they act like they don’t have to account to us! See, my emotions take over and all I can do is rant.

Every time I see a photo of a pelican, sea turtle, dolphin, or other wild life endangered by this leak (I’m so sick of it being called a “spill”, it’s a LEAK, with no end in sight), I feel powerless. I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida and spent a many a summer day at the beach. Even after moving to Atlanta, we pack the car every summer for a week long respite in the sun and beautiful water of St. George Island. The first thing I do when we arrive, before we unload the car or buy groceries or use the bathroom, is walk to the edge of the water and close my eyes, feeling the wind on my skin, the sound of the surf in my ears, and, taking a deep breath, the smell of salt and sea. I open my eyes and take in the majesty of the ocean and I am in awe… I’m home. The gulf is part of my soul and I am heartbroken. Even though I no longer live on the gulf, I still feel its powerful pull, and I ache for those who do live there, whose livelihood and way of life are damaged, perhaps beyond repair, and who must look out each day and see the destruction that has been done to all they hold dear, and I know they too are heartbroken.

And for what?

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