Nov 27, 2007

Overwhelmed by the Oil Spill Pt 2

Meet BoBo, an oil slathered pelican from SF Bay. Upon the advice of a friend, I doused a stuffed animal with vegetable oil and dirt at Saturday's Really Really Free Market. A lot of folks got into this li'l project and I'd like to encourage Critical Massers to join me in decorating their bikes with dead sea goers for Friday's ride. You can't read the card attached, but it says "Cosco Busan: Over 5,000 animals dead". I need to update that sign, as today we're learning that over 20,00 birds alone are expected to have died in this oil spill. We aren't even considering fish and ocean dwellers in that number.

I'm still angry and a bit overwhelmed. I cannot find out what was delivered to us on that ship. What was it carrying away? When I search for this info, I find pictures of oiled birds. I can't handle it. I can't think about the devastation without shrinking into my own thoughts, crying, wondering how the fuck this happened. I saw a headline that read, "Poor Anglers Hit Hardest by Spill". True among humans, but what a short sighted perspective among life.

Speaking with a respected naturalist on Sunday, I confessed my inability to engage directly with the spill. I still haven't been to the bay or ocean since the spill. As I was out of town when this occurred, I don't think I've been to the bay or ocean since October (unusual for me). My friend said that he, too, had "buried [his] head in the sand". The more I think about it, the more angry and frustrated I become. Sadness is daunting for me. That said, I'm grateful to all of the folks trying to remedy this situation, particularly my friends Chris Giorni, Josiah Clarke, and Lew Stringer.

We cannot eliminate human error entirely. We can blame the pilot, captain, and coast guard all day, but accidents will happen. If we seriously want to reduce the chance of accidents, perhaps we should reduce the number of ships traversing our bay. What imports does California really need? Is my estimation of this state's bounty short-sighted, or are we played for fools by profit seeking corporations?
My brain imagines that we got some plastic crap from Asia, summoned by one of our multi-national corporations which moved its operations abroad to reduce its labor costs. And on the way out I imagine that the Cosco Busan was carrying our e-waste to Asia for "disposal" (also known as dumping).
I don't know this at all. But if not this ship, then how many others? This spill reminds us to eat, drink, and live locally. Not out of nationalistic pride, but out of common sense and respect for all life.

1 comment:

Ben Overmyer said...

Eating and living locally seems like a brilliant idea. The problem comes when trying to gain access to things that won't grow or can't be made in a specific local area; for example, here in South Dakota we'd have a very hard time trying to grow coconuts.

Is the sacrifice worth it? Perhaps. But it's a sacrifice none-the-less, and something that will give many people pause when considering living locally.