I’m heartbroken about the oily mess in the Gulf of Mexico. I grew up in Louisiana. That is my home state and even though it has been years since I’ve been there, Louisiana will always be my home state. The state has some of the most fascinating wildlife in this country. Cypress trees with roots that sink deep into the murky bayous, their branches draped with long, gray, curly tendrils of Spanish moss, exotic birds, varieties of snakes, colorful spiders, abundant fish, and more live in those waters. Unique is the word that best describes the culture and life of the southern Louisiana lowlands and marshes. I lived mainly in the northern panhandle, but what happened south of the capital Baton Rouge, affected the entire state. I liked living in Louisiana. I grew up thinking our state was special. Moving north to Kentucky when I was a teenager was a traumatic experience, and it took a few years to adjust to living life in the “north.” I never actually visited the Gulf when we lived in Louisiana. I didn’t make it to those waters until I was in college and I went down to the Florida Keys during spring break. Pelicans, the Louisiana state bird, were ubiquitous, and beautiful even if a bit strange looking. The beaches were beautiful, the sun hot. We did all the touristy things, not the Daytona stuff of movies. Our small group camped near the beach, swam out on the reef, watched stingray and barracuda swim beneath us. The Florida part of the Gulf is not like the Louisiana Gulf, but it was beautiful and fun, too. It, too, will soon be “affected” by the oil gushing from a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, pictures of the Gulf filling up with oil break my heart. I can’t bear to look at any more photographs. The magnitude of what has happened is staggering. President Obama, in his recent speech addressing the issue, made the statement that we do not presently have the technology to stem the flow of oil. Do not have the technology???? As in we have nothing invented yet to stop the oil from gushing into the gulf? As in there is nothing we can do about this at the present moment? Are you kidding me???? We put men on the moon decades ago and we don’t have the technology to do anything about this? Wildlife is being destroyed. Destroyed! Not only is the oil polluting the water, oxygen beneath the oil is being depleted. Fish, birds, dolphins, sharks—All sea animals are rushing to shallow water attempting to escape suffocation. They will die in the shallow waters. BP…I have no words strong enough to tell them what I think of them. They knowingly violated safety regulations. Why? Greed. They bought up BP searches on Google and Yahoo, in order to replace the entries with their own spin of what is happening. Why? Greed. They have worked to prohibit, inhibit, and squelch stories, journalists, photographers, reporters from seeing those waters and telling us what is going on. Why? Greed. BP has been far more interested in making sure their stockholders get their money than in stopping the flow of oil, or cleaning up the mess they have made. BP is so far out of touch with what they have done to the entire ecosystem and culture of the Gulf of Mexico, it is criminal, and their cavalier attitude is arrogant to the point of revulsion. And, on top of all that, eleven people lost their lives. Eleven families will never see their loved one again. All people who live and work on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are watching their livelihood being drowned in oil. We have all lost because BP thumbed its nose at safety regulations, and have been thumbing their noses, we have learned, for quite some time. And now, now we don’t have the technology to stop the oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, or to clean up this gargantuan mess.
I’m heartbroken. I grieve. I’m mad as hell. And I don’t know what to do to make it all better, to go back to its former rich and lush and beautiful self. I pray. But the oil is still gushing. And we don’t have the technology to stop it.