Friday, July 30, 2010

Pelicans of the Gulf

For nearly all of my life, I have been an environmentalist. I have taken pride in the fact that I have tried in every area of my life to make this world a better place, a place where the beauty that I have seen would remain for my children and grandchildren. Through my photography and my art, I have worked to show the world the wonders of nature, and the beauty it holds for all of us.
Several weeks ago, when we all heard the news of the BP oil leak, I knew the world was about to change. I sensed that this was not going to just pass, but that something major had just occurred and that the very nature of it would change our lives. Many of my friends thought perhaps I was just over-reacting to an event that would soon be cleaned up and forgotten. At times, I thought perhaps they were right......maybe I was over-reacting. But now I know better.
Last week something called to me to visit the Gulf and to see for myself what had happened. So, I and my wife decided to just go down for a few days and have a look for ourselves. We both had an idea in our minds of what we would find, but neither of us were prepared for what we saw. Beaches in late July empty of people. Hotels empty. Parks empty. Restaurants empty. Highways and roads empty. Retail stores empty. Million dollar condos empty. For Sale signs everywhere!
You really can't prepare yourself for what has happened and what lies in store for the people of the Gulf in the years to come. Keep in mind that only one well experienced a leak. Nearly three thousand wells remain in the Gulf, and every one of those wells was put there with the same lack of regulation as the BP well that leaked. Also, remember that those wells have been in place for decades and can potentially develop problems at any time. No sane person can look at this situation and believe that we are not going to see more failures in these existing wells. People in the Gulf know and understand that many more hammers are yet to fall. Tar balls on the beaches of Mobile are just the beginning of what is to come in our future. We, all of us, have stood by and allowed oil companies to drill off our shores with very little regulation and almost no enforcement. Our thirst for cheap oil has made us close our eyes to the dangers of this kind of environmental disaster. Not BP nor the government of the U.S. should shoulder all the blame, as we all must look in the mirror and admit our part in allowing this to happen. This is not about oil on birds or beaches, but rather about our willingness to sacrifice the planet to satisfy our desire for cheap fuel. You, me, our children, our neighbors.....all of us owe the planet an apology. WE DID and me. It's time to call those who represent us and say enough of this nonsense. Please......make one call and start a movement.

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