Monday, June 14, 2010

Oil and water do not mix

I guess I can't write a blog about water and wind without addressing the disaster happening in the Gulf of Mexico. What is there to say about the oil spill? How do we explain this to children who are tender-hearted enough to care about ugly pelicans and uncommunicative oysters? What can we possibly say? Children get in trouble for making a mess by knocking over their milk. Parents lose it over ketchup on a white t-shirt. Why is there is so little outrage over a mess of epic proportions that can't be fixed with a paper towel or a little Spray-n-wash?

When my kids were at the milk spilling age, I was hyper-vigilant at mealtimes, watching for milk glasses that were teetering on the edge of a placemat or within range of enthusiastic gesturing or just in the path of a logically anticipated reach. I did this so that they could avoid making the mess, making me angry, being embarrassed, and wasting the milk. Later, when they reached the potentially blood spilling age of early driver's license, I reminded every teen-aged driver they rode with that I was entrusting them with "precious cargo". The warnings were tailored to individual drivers - ranging from the simple reminder that they were carrying precious cargo, to threats of haunting them forever if they hurt my child by being careless with her in the car. This was often embarrassing (or hilarious, depending on the circumstances) to my daughters, but they emerged from that phase without a scratch and I like to think my admonitions may have planted some safety seeds in fledgling drivers.

For 30 years I have recycled cans and glass. I used cloth diapers in hopes of leaving my kids a world where they wouldn't be buried in dirty pampers. Every one of my cars has been chosen with its gas mileage in mind and my carbon footprint is small enough to be downright un-American. I've probably bought less than 25 tanks of gas from Exxon since the Valdez incident in 1989. And now this. What was the point? I can't control the future. Thanks to events in the Gulf, no matter what I do for the rest of my life, my girls are going to inherit a much dirtier planet than they deserve. Their garden, their playground, their whole planet is befouled and I am outraged.

I am looking for grace in this. Trying to play Pollyanna's "Glad Game" and find something to be thankful for in the midst of this. Surely the magnitude of this will change something. . . surely this will serve as a wake-up call. . . surely we will not let this happen again. . . I'm listening to the news and I'm not hearing anything that gives me hope.

I haven't been diligent about inviting comments from readers but I hope you will chime in on this. I really want to know what you think - and if you can throw me a bit of wisdom or a hopeful word I would be especially grateful.

Today's not a good day to jump in, the water's dirty!


Tracy said...

What's so difficult for me is that I am not by nature a blaming person. I get outraged at the pointing fingers and constant need to find the culprit as opposed to the solution. I'm a problem solver so I want this problem solved. I don't like to waste time with the what-ifs and the if-onlys in the midst of a problem. Solve the problem...then we'll figure out where to go from there. That's the message I try to send to my children who can get bogged down in teh blaming and not in the solving. If we have spilled milk, the first thing we do is clean it up. Then...guess's not such a big deal who's fault it was. We've learned a lesson, the problem is solved and life goes on. Easier with milk than with oil, but the point still remains that leaving a mess while we stand around and point fingers only makes the problem more difficult to solve.

Life As I Know It said...

It's a tragic optimistic words of wisdom from me. I watch the news every morning, and every morning it seems to be worse. I just can't believe it. And I feel terrible for all of those people who are out of work because it. And you know what? I bet the BP execs will still get their bonuses this year.
What can we do? I keep asking myself that question. What can we all do?