Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First, Do No Further Harm


It’s really hard to think about doing small things to help the environment when hourly updates about the oil spill are being broadcast on all of the cable news networks. I haven’t had the will to even post here for weeks because it seemed so futile with the overwhelming environmental crisis unfolding in the Gulf.

I have finally come to believe that no matter what type of misinformation is coming out of the Gulf, it is what it is.  No matter how tragic, it is what it is---it has already happened. No amount of hand wringing or finger pointing can change what has already happened. No amount of lies and cover-ups can change the fact that a disaster of this scope will be studied for decades, perhaps even centuries, and hard to digest truths brought to light.

It is time to turn our attention to dealing with it. To get our brains working toward solutions, we need to accept the fact that political and financial agendas will be behind a lot of proposed solutions.

  • While berms and dredging my look like a good idea to keep oil out of wetlands, what is the long-term effect? 
  • Will the toxic sand migrate? 
  • Will the tides, storms, currents move the toxic oil and chemical contaminated sand to a new area after a time? 
  • Do environmentalists have a good reason for not approving these plans because of unknown future repercussions down the road?
The ever-failing plan of the week coming from BP doesn’t take much effort to dismiss anymore. They just keep moving down the list of possibilities so that they are perceived to be doing something. In my opinion, if it was a good idea, it would have been higher on their list of ‘solutions’ in the first place. It’s not as if they’re saying they have new information that makes the new attempt promising. BP just can’t afford to appear to do nothing as the crude continues to gush at who knows what rate.

The dangers of the dispersants will be brought to light in many unknown ways. From dead sperm whales washing upon beaches to human health problems to the people exposed to the toxins. Dead zones in the Gulf, already a major concern before the BP fiasco, will get larger and spread far beyond the Gulf area.

There are other consequences, some of them which are already being studied and addressed, others that have yet to be imagined. It’s a disaster and a crisis. It’s on going. It’s difficult to wrap our minds around. But it has happened.

As unlikely as it seems, recycling your plastic refuse will still make a difference.
Conserving energy will still make a difference.
Each person must continue to carry on the effort to clean up their tiny spot of earth by doing what they do best.

  • Those who know how to grow things without chemicals – continue and share the knowledge.
  • Those who car-pool to reduce carbon emissions – continue to do so.
  • Those who don’t use more electricity that they need – continue to do so, and share your tips.
  • Let the scientists and environmentalists work on what they do best – continue to work on the tremendous effort of dealing with the Gulf crisis.
As solutions are found to the individual problems left behind by the oily devastation, lend support in any way you can.

If we become discouraged, we fail. Failure is not an option.