I grew up on the Gulf Coast. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my grandparent’s porch watching the tide move through the sea oats as pelicans swooped down to catch their dinner. Seagulls screaming at tourists, the buzz of a million insects, frogs bwraaaping, lizards scurrying, white heat shimmering from golden sands.
I got my first sailboat when I was about 8, and from that day on, I spent as much of my childhood on the water as I possibly could. Even though I left the coast when I went to college, and I’ve settled pretty far inland, I think in my head I’ve always assumed that some day, I’d be back by the beach.
And then I look at the absolute destruction being wrought by the BP oil disaster and weep. Because, at this rate, the beaches that I grew up loving, and hoped to show my son, will be naught but memories and photographs.
Already there were huge dead zones in the Gulf because of oil drilling, toxic dumping, and overfishing. The coral reefs have been in danger for more than a decade. But this spill? This could kill the entire Gulf, and then what the hell are we supposed to do?
Forty percent of America’s wetlands are in the Louisiana/Mississippi basin. They are in the direct line of fire from this spill. The wetlands are where the food like shrimp and fish lay breed. Without them, there is no habitat for those species, as well as the hundreds of other species that depend on the wetlands.
Oil is now being seen as far east as Florida. If it catches the loop current, it could travel all the way up the Atlantic.
This spill is unforgivable. We, as citizens, must stop deep ocean drilling. We must assume that all corporations are as negligent about safety and regulations as BP. We cannot survive another disaster like this. We need the oceans. We need the fish and the birds and the sea oats. We don’t need more plastic crap, or disposable bags or cars that get 10mpg.
We need to stop the billions of dollars in tax subsidies to the oil companies, and use that money to fund solar farms, wind farms, hydro electric, and efficiency research for existing tech like cars. This gluttonous draining of oil to the detriment of all other things has to stop.
We have to make it stop.