It's time to draw a line in the sand.
The Gulf coast of the United States has been one of the sites of our addiction to oil. And, like the addicts that we are, we haven't been able to get enough of this juice that makes our car engines run. So we keep drilling another needle into our vein to suck out as much as we can. We've done it in the Gulf. We've done it off the coasts of foreign lands. We even fight wars because "we need that crude, man!!" We've made whole economies dependent on drilling. And when someone offers a new way, a different way, we... like the addicts that we are... make excuses for why we won't kick our habit.
And, like with most addictions, there are consequences for us becoming so dependent. We don't see those consequences and remain in denial until we have an intervention and we're forced to take a look at ourselves unfiltered and uncensored. It can get ugly, and it can hurt to face the truth of what our addiction is doing to others. In this case, the needle is jammed so deep into the vein that the vein is now just spewing forth like an Underwater Geyser (a more appropriate name for what BP called Deepwater Horizon). Mammals and birds of the air are getting coated in the thick goo. Microorganisms are dying in the Gulf waters. Beaches are blighted with tarballs amidst the seashells. And that's just the beginning of the problems created by our addiction. The New York Times has run stories noting that people halfway around the world are bitter about the attention to this environmental disaster in the Gulf. Why does the Gulf of Mexico rate such press when the Niger Delta has suffered a constant flow of oil for the past FIVE decades? Shrimpers were put out of business there; why are they not considered worthy of billion dollar fixes which end up not fixing a damn thing the way it's happening in the Gulf?
Good question. Ask the addict!
I've heard on a couple of occasions in the past few years sermons by "the Lees" (that's Graham+ and Shafer+) in which they focused on repentance. The word can cause one to stiffen the spine, particularly if you've ever been on the receiving end of the screaming fundamentalist wagging her homophobic finger in your face. But "to repent" is to "rethink" and "reconsider". To take notice of the consequences of those things "done and left undone". And then, once the recognition comes, to then make a turn toward change. In the context of spiritual and religious thinking, the turn toward change means to return to God, and the recognition that if we believe that "all things come of ye, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee", we reach an understanding that all that there is in our selves and our lives really belongs to God. This is why I believe we are now called on, as addicts to oil, to true repentance. I believe that if we are going to survive this addiction, we must stop poking holes in the vein of creation and change our habits. That means reconsidering how much we depend on oil. I say this as much to me as I'm saying it to anyone out there reading these words.
For me, the commitment to repent is made manifest in an act of solidarity with others who are of like-mindedness on the need to stop drilling for oil. I will be participating in an event at Tallahassee's "beach", Lake Ella, to join "Hands Across the Sands" tomorrow at 11:30AM and visually demonstrate a need for us to do things differently. This is not an easy addiction to break, but I am always hopeful that we will one day learn from our tragedies, and move in the direction of funding those researchers and scientists who are finding newer, less-destructive ways to harness energy.
It is time to draw a line in the sand.