The BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is sickening, beyond the fact that 11 men died needlessly, leaving bewildered and bereaved families behind. I’ve avoided most of the news and photos about it because it makes me ill. Not simply upset or disturbed, which are natural reactions, but physically ill. Ill for the Gulf people whose hardships seem never to end, for the wildlife whose mute suffering speaks volumes, and for the environment that won’t recover in my lifetime, or those of generations of descendants.
My protective shell is imperfect. There’s so much news, most of it bad, that some gets through. Today I saw a Yahoo News headline about sea creatures congregating near the shore, while birds soaked in oil crawl off into the marshes, never to be seen again. That image alone breaks my heart. But my heart is a small thing in a sea of loss and despair.
In the early hours of the morning, I dreamed as though from a future vantage point that the well was never contained, that in time the oceans turned to oil, then the earth. It wasn’t just me who was helpless to stop it. It was all of us.
Right now I don’t care whose fault it is or who is accusing who of what. I want it plugged so that not one drop of oil ever escapes from it again. I wanted it plugged or diverted now, not in a few months when possibly—possibly!—relief wells may—may!—alleviate the volume. I want all the best engineering minds to focus their theoretical thoughts and practical experience on this singular calamity. I want it fixed, and then I want those entrusted with power to make sure this, and anything like this, can’t and won’t happen again.
I want the suffering to end, for life to go back to normal, for birds to go back to raising their young, not crawling off in anguish to perish miserably.
I want us to break our cycle of addiction to oil and other dirty energy.
I want the clean world we’ve never had.