DCMM: Oil-filled Tears — Watching the Gulf Spill From Afar

J0185091[1] I am an oddly apolitical person living in the political epicenter of our nation.  And though I care about the Earth we live on, I certainly do not deem myself even on the spectrum of “environmentalists” as I have not taken the time to educate myself on most of the issues.  No, I’m just little ‘ole me, trying not to ruin my own little corner of the world by recycling what I can and remembering to bring in my reusable grocery bags whenever I can.

And yet, I have been riveted… in horror… by all news related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP oil rig accident.  The sheer magnitude of it has been mind-blowing.  The long-term environmental impact inestimable.  While my hometown, Miami, is different in many ways from the gulf areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, there are many similarities as well.  A healthy love for and respect of the ocean and all the creatures in it.  A great dependence upon tourism.  And an understanding of the significance of marshlands and the fragile ecosystem that lives within them.

My heart stopped when my half-awake mind heard “…tar balls… Florida Keys… BP oil spill” come out of the TV set early in the morning one day.  Since then analysis of the 20-odd tar balls that washed ashore in the Keys has determined they did not come from the BP spill, and yet it is possible that my beloved childhood snorkeling grounds could eventually be impacted.  The experts seem to change their opinion as often as they change their socks about whether the “loop current” will bring the oil to the Keys.

Having grown up through various Everglades crises (drought, fires, introduction of non-native species), I was indoctrinated early about how important it is to take care of each ecosystem, and when I hear about every crazy plan to “protect” the marshlands — burning them, flooding them with chemicals, etc. I can’t help but feel emotional.  As I read about oyster beds potentially being ruined for generations, I weep.  The thought of what will go through the bodies of each precious piece of the oceanic food chain and the cumulative impact that will have just makes me ill.  Although I am normally very straightforward and factual with my kids, I find myself switching channels and hiding newspapers rather than trying to explain a catastrophe so large and so uncontainable that I can’t yet wrap my own mind around it, much less put it into terms for their 4- and 6-year-old brains.

I am ashamed that I still rely so much on oil and gas that fuels our cars and supports our lifestyles.  I’m very much aware of the hypocrisy and yet feel very powerless in rectifying it.  Although I’ve always been supportive of alternative fuels, until now the “oil crisis” has felt a bit remote.  Now if feels all too painfully close to home — even all the way here in DC.

This is an original DC Metro Moms Blog post.  You can read more about J.J. Newby’s views about her little corner of the world on her blog Caffeine And A Prayer.

Note:  This post was moved to my site with permission from DC Metro Moms and Silicon Valley Moms Group upon the announcement of their dissolution.

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