Monday, June 7, 2010

LIFE’S A BEACH .... AND THEN CAME THE OIL



A week ago I was in Key West, Florida, walking the beautiful sandy beaches at Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park, where at one point, the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico meet. It’s a pristine place, with the Gulf side facing some of the most breath-taking sunsets I’ve ever seen. I walked barefoot, feeling the sand and pebbles and water beneath my feet. I sat on the rocky outcropping at the southern tip and watched pelicans dive for fish. What a sight to see them flip upside down just before they enter the water.

I watched shiny black cormorands slip beneath the waves, holding their breath for incredible amounts of time while they fished for their suppers. I saw children playing in the sand and shallow water, splashing and laughing. I inhaled deeply and soaked it all in, fearing that in a few months, the beaches would be devastated by a slimy, toxic coating of oil. As of this writing, the first oil balls have been found way north, in Sarasota. Is it only a matter of time until it spreads south, then back up the Atlantic coast? How far will the devastation spread?

It seems implausible that any company who drills below the ocean would not have a back-up plan in case of a leak or damage. Didn’t anyone think that a contingency plan might be a smart idea?

All I know is that it breaks my heart to see those misfortunate pelicans drowning in oil. I can only imagine what it’s doing to the other wild life. I applaud all of you who are working to rescue all the poor creatures caught in this man-made disaster.

What are your thoughts? Should deep drilling be banned? Should more money go to developing alternative sources of power? Do you live near a beach that is endangered?

If ever there was a need for a miracle, this is it.

16 comments:

Heather Webber said...

This whole situation just breaks my heart. I can't even watch the coverage or I end up in tears. My heart goes out to those affected by this situation--and yes, I'm praying for a miracle.

Ingrid King said...

I can't even wrap my mind around the scale of the devastation this has brought to our planet. I can't watch the coverage, either - it's just too unbearable.

I'm also appalled at how this is being handled by BP and our government, including our president. Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, I think we all expected more from this administration - I know I did. And what we're getting is politics as usual, which adds insult to injury.

I can only hope that eventually, some good will come from this. Maybe it took a disaster of this magnitude for the world to finally see that we've got to focus on developing alternatives to our dependence on oil. But what an awfully high price to pay for this awareness.

Sheila Connolly said...

I'm still scratching my head that anyone thought sending a pipeline a mile--a mile!--deep into the ocean was a good idea. Of course something was going to go wrong, but a major oil company managed to ignore that entirely--until something went very wrong.

Can we please look at alternate energy sources again?

signlady217 said...

Anything mechanical eventually is going to have a problem! Anyone who thinks otherwise apparently has never owned a house or car, and needs their head examined. Then add in erosion from salt water, animal activity, friction from water movement, etc., and viola! What do you think you're gonna get?

And I'm not even going to get into the whole political thing! ;) Suffice it to say: Yikes!

Hope everyone still somehow can manage to have a great summer. We know we're going to have some great books available! :)

Rural View said...

I'm appalled at the arrogance of the powers that be at BP. It should be a first priority to have a solution ready to go immediately when there is a problem. I feel so badly for the families of the men who died, and for all the families affected by the spreading oil. The wildlife soaked in oil make me cry. So many innocent victims. I don't necessarily think oil drilling is bad, but more emphasis needs to be placed on alternative energy sources such as wind.

Anonymous said...

I live in south Louisiana. The unthinkable has happened. Our wonderful seafood industry is fading away. Our tourism industry is winding down. People employed in the oil industry are bound to lose their jobs. Our wetlands and wildlife is dying. Our entire way of life has been threatened. The eyes of the world are upon us again just like after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, (all within the past 5 years.) The latest hurricane season began on June 1. We are tired, frustrated and scared. But, we are not defeated. We are a strong people, with a love of place and culture. We will survive!
I want to thank all of you for your strong feelings of concern for us. It has not gone unnoticed. We know that the PEOPLE of this country are with us.
Annette Gavigan
agavigan@cox.net

Andrea C. said...

It is sooo hard to think about and watch the devestation of our oceans b/c of oil and many other things! I think we need to put a stop to ocean drilling and put a LOT more money into finding an alternative fuel source. Why wait until all the oil is gone (along with all our seafood, wildlife, and beaches)?

tonya kappes said...

My DH and I are soooo heartbroken. We have a condo on the gulf and we are just waiting to hear if it's hit or hear if we have any cancellations from people who rent from us.
At our beach, you can't walk in the water five feet without walking on a sand dollar or seeing a sea horse, and the thought of having the oil there destroying our precious sea life makes us sick.
We are going in three weeks, so I guess I might see first hand...ugh!
Ban BP!

tonya kappes said...

My DH and I are soooo heartbroken. We have a condo on the gulf and we are just waiting to hear if it's hit or hear if we have any cancellations from people who rent from us.
At our beach, you can't walk in the water five feet without walking on a sand dollar or seeing a sea horse, and the thought of having the oil there destroying our precious sea life makes us sick.
We are going in three weeks, so I guess I might see first hand...ugh!
Ban BP!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I live in SW Florida and we are all holding our breathe hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Key West is one of our favorite spots to visit. This disaster is so heartbreaking and frustrating to watch. I have always been against off shore drilling so I hope they ban it forever or since that's not likely, at least ban it until the companies participating can prove they have an emergency plan that works.

Kate Collins said...

Yes! I so agree with all of you. We need to push alternative energy hard, before we poison the earth completely. I maintain that our planet will not be destroyed by a nuclear weapon. We'll poison it to death.
Jane, please keep us posted on what you find. I'll be back in Key West later this month, as well, and am praying for the best.

Libby said...

For those of you commenting on the government not doing enough, what exactly do you expect the government to do? You are probably the same folks who were crying about too much government a few months ago before this catastrophe happened. The President has been in the Gulf area 3 if not 4 times. What is that you expect him to do? It floors me when I hear people misplacing blame? The fault lies with BP and folks who keep driving their huge F-150 trucks and SUV's. Also, I do feel that the government, and the people of America should push for this, should put all of this money that is used for this horrid drilling, and use those funds to develop alternative sources of power.

Valerie Consoer said...

I definitely feel for those people that are affected by the nasty oil spill. I, too, cannot watch the news for fear that I will end up crying my eyes out. The animals touch my heart especially. It may sound callous of me, but I care more for the animals who can't simply wipe the oil off of their little bodies. I've noticed that the Dawn commercial having to do with oil spills has been showing more on television since this has happened. And it makes me tear up each time I see the commercial. I'm not a religious person by any means, but I definitely keep those affected by the oil spill in my thoughts. And yes, deep drilling should be banned.

Robin Klein said...

I live along the Floria Gulf Coast, literally, the Gulf is blocks from my home. If you can find Tampa, move to the west, there I am. It is very scary state of affairs. The stse is in a "tizzy" about it. The fisherman, shrimpers, etc. want to call a state of emergency but the state tourism agency thinks that will will hurt tourism. Lets just say I won't be eating any fresh fish or crustations from the Gulf anytime soon. As a country we need to put pressure on BP(British Petroleum) to cap the da-- leak. And ban oil exploration in the Gulf. There is nowhere for the oil to go but to land.

WonderBunny said...

I didn't read through all the comments so I have no idea of what other people are saying but I do want to mention that oil is used in a lot more then then just your car. Even if you want alternative fuel sources, that doesn't stop the need for oil. If you didn't drive your car today but took a bicycle, you still needed oil to make the tires. If you took lunch into work in a plastic container, you needed oil. If you brushed your teeth, you need oil. Oil may be one of the most diversified natural resources we have. I am all about finding other means to fueling our cars or heating our houses then using oil or gas - but oil is used to manufacture a great many other things.

I also hope they can clean this mess up quickly and that it will bring changes in how deep oil drilling is done. Make sure there are more fail safes (by the way, how does one test a fail safe until it is actually needed?) and other policy that help protect the environment more. Now all we can do is live and learn but I don't believe stopping the drilling is the solving the problem.

Kate Collins said...

Robin, I can well imagine the gut-wrenching dread all of you have as you watch the news reports. Today it was even worse -- inches of oil on beaches that had none yesterday. It breaks my heart all over again each day. I live in Florida part-time and I really hate to watch TV in the mornings now. It just seems like it will never end.

Wonder Bunny -- your points were made on GMA today. Our need for oil, and all the jobs the drilling creates, as well. And if we don't drill for it, those rigs will go to foreign countries to drill, causing the loss of thousands of jobs in the US. We are very dependent on oil. It just seems like a nightmare at this point. I don't know what the future holds, but I pray that brilliant minds across the country are working on solutions.
As for a fail-safe contingency plan, it seems like scale models might be a way to test. That's done all the time for space projects.