I grew up loving trips to the Gulf Coast… cross the state line into Florida and I get a feeling of HOME — and odd, deep, excitement. As a child and later a teenager, 20 something and young mother I could stay at the beach, playing in the surf and watching the waves for an eternity. My soul rests when I look out at the Gulf.
In 1977 I was a part of the scientific crew on the Machias (research vessel from the University of Miami) to do baseline studies of the Gulf prior to opening it up to oil exploration and drilling. Due to an accident, we came in to port a week early to drop off our injured worker, only to discover that the Bureau of Land Management had decided to pull all of our funding. When we got off the boat a week later, we had no jobs. And, more importantly, there would be no hard data to show what the ecology and environment in the Gulf of Mexico had been like prior to drilling. If you can’t show what was there before, it is really difficult to prove that there has been great damage. That’s politics and law.
Today I find myself grieving. I drive a car, so I’m a part of the problem. Granted, one of our cars is a hybrid (Prius); Helps with gas mileage. Still, I grieve. The damage assessment from this leaking well only seems to get worse by the hour. I hope I live to see the recovery. I pray that God will guide the hearts and minds of those who must try to stop the hemorrhaging oil well and lead them to a solution. I look in horror at the pact with the devil that humankind has made to satisfy our need for energy – coal and oil…
Yes, I’m distressed. And trying to figure out how to help straighten the mess out (without making things worse). Forgive us, Father — we really don’t know what we are doing.
Liz, not to belittle the problem, but I have to look at it from my scientist/analyst point of view. Yesterday the WSJ included some facts on the gulf spill in an article on the topic, and the facts answered some of my questions. For instance, the Exxon Valdiz spill was over 240,000 barrels, and the gulf leak is estimated at 5,000 barrels a day. The E.V. spill cost less than $1B to clean up, all paid by Exxon. And, finally, the E.V. spill was concentrated in an area thousands of times smaller than the gulf spill. Again, not to minimize the problem, but it appears relatively small compared to that Alaskan tanker spill. What harm to the gulf/environment? I don’t know, but the article also noted that natural oil leakage from the sea bottom is also a very large number of barrels per day, and that drilling takes pressure off that leakage.
Net-net, I am not in a panic over this; it is part of the good and bad that goes on in life and nature. It all fits in with the beauty of God’s plans (Read Dubay’s book on beauty to gain some comfort with the goings on of nature and man).
I wish you well — and have faith! We’re not in control, we just so often think we are.
Tom – I don’t take it as belittling the problem on your part. But, we have indeed done a pretty poor job of stewardship of creation. As a species, we are pretty sure we can have our cake and eat it too. Even if it means making that deal with the devil… I think of Ann Rice’s portrayal of Jesus in the desert (the temptations) in “The Road to Cana” where “the Devil” shows himself to Jesus where Jesus’ own face. A pretty good way to tell the story.
And, yes, I believe the earth and nature will survive in the long run. It might not be the way we experience it now. It might not even include human beings. And, just because we are not in control does not excuse us from needing to listen and heed the call of God.
Blessings on you — and may your lack of panic be warranted.
Liz, I have a final comment I’d like to share with you, but would not want it published. Could you write and give me your email address? (I’m firstname.lastname@example.org)