Every morning I sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee and check the Gulf Coast links on my sidebar to see what's happening. This morning I was happy to see a new post from Velveteen Mind. Megan is an incredibly smart woman, an excellent writer and as far as bloggers go, well, she's what you might call at the top of the food chain, publishing her own literary e-zine/blog called Blog Nosh which I am only now beginning to explore.
Megan has hope that BP actually can "make this right". Better even.
Well, wouldn't you if you lived there? Do you think you could face the devastating loss while still reeling from Katrina, a not-so-great depression, huge corporate buy-outs paid for with OUR money, lies and deception at every level of government and corporations. Wouldn't you cling to anything that might provide some glimmer of hope for the people, the ocean and the wildlife? For a way of life which Megan describes beautifully? I probably would if I were there. But I've taken Derrick Jensen's advice and given up on hope:
A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope didn't kill you. It didn't even make you less effective. In fact it made you more effective because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your problems, you ceased hoping your problems would somehow get solved through the magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters, brave salmon or even the earth itself - and you just began doing whatever it takes to solve those problems yourself.
Also, I'm not there. I'm about as far away as you can get from the Gulf and remain inside the contiguous U.S. But growing up in Georgia provided many wonderful times in the Gulf. It was only 6 hours to Panama City, Destin or Pensacola. I love the Gulf and I hurt for it. Perhaps my distance allows me to be more cynical about this disaster, or more realistic.
Many in our country now are sympathizing with the poor sots in the Gulf Coast. "Oh, how awful for those people." You can practically hear the relief in their own voices. Finally, someone has it worse. We may be un or underemployed, without health insurance and unable to afford care and we may be on the verge of bankruptcy, but we're not down there. We're not covered in oil with no end in sight and the losses growing by the minute.
Here's the thing, though. WE ARE. We are all down there. That sigh of relief will empty your lungs and lower your heartrate slightly, but it won't change the facts. We are all drenched in oil. This country has been built on it for the last 150 years and our arrogance and stupidity are catching up with us. In my experience there's only one thing to do with an addiction like we have: face it and do the best you can. Read. Be informed. Take action. Find it interesting when a non-profit environmental organization scolds BP while cozying right up to them. Do not turn away from what's happening to the wildlife, even when it hurts. And it will.
Know that there are 27,000 abandoned wells now in the Gulf of Mexico; many of which are probably leaking. Oh yeah, don't forget all the ammo from the WWII ships coming home. Don't forget that most of the fish we eat is already contaminated with mercury, PCB's and other toxins, even before Corexit (make sure to read down to toxicity). Don't forget that all we have left is our choice of how to handle the things we face. We will either stay in denial and await a return to "normal". Or we will get busy re-creating normal into some semblence of what it actually is for human beings and the earth: small communities, small economies, local food resources. In other words, villages.
That little fellow above is a river otter we saw on a recent kayaking trip. He's not covered in oil; he just has an incredibly black coat designed for colder waters and sleek swimming. Isn't he wonderful?