This morning I hopped into my little car and zoomed to a memoir class I teach Thursday mornings. As always, I had the radio on, and tuned to 1150, which at this hour still broadcasts progressive shows. The host was talking with a caller about the first grey whale found dead in the Gulf. I became increasingly sickened as I listened -- the greys feed at the bottom of the sea, on squid. The squids have been contaminated with the dispersant being used on the oil. They in turn have become poisonous.
This is only the beginning of course. A friend active in the green movement, Carolyn Allen, http://californiagreensolutions.com, ventured a guesstimate about the large number of sea animals bound to die in the Gulf, and we discussed the fact that the spill is moving around the tip of Florida and will hit the Caribbean and Atlantic, claiming even more aquatic life. Carolyn informed me that there is already a dead zone in the Gulf from all the effluent coming from the Mississippi, etc. A fact that did not surprise me; I had just not come across it before.
More than 30 years ago Jacques Cousteau said that 50% of the Pacific was dead, and of course there's the huge garbage island floating around in that body of water. Then the Navy got its sonar going, which has been demonstrated to kill whales. I went to a meeting where people were arguing against this unconscionable practice. The Navy reps said, among other things, "the whales can swim underneath the sonar." Sure...perhaps they'll read the billboards. This stuff travels throughout an entire ocean once released, its waves disorienting whales who then can't find feeding grounds, and if they are too close to the source of the sonar, it bursts their air sacs and they die an agonizing death.
But the Navy insists the program is critical. Why? To track submarines, which no one is using anymore. Once upon a time there were subs stalking the U.S. and some way to track them made sense. But now, this is a program that has cost billions. To stop it would be to admit the perpetrators have been wasting money. So they continue to dump more in, and fight every time reason tries to prevail.
It's not just the whales we are killing with all the shocking behavior. It's other sea dwellers. And what those backing all this insane stuff say is people count more, as do their sources of income.
Don't these simpletons see that as we kill off the animals that live in the sea, we kill ourselves?
After hearing about the first whale death this morning, I was on email and found a note about a Republican in Congress, Barton, who said to the CEO of BP, whom everyone expected to apologize, "[The 20 billion dollar reparations set forth by Obama] is a tragedy in the first proportion." Further, the note went on, "The Republican Study Committee, with its 114 members in the House, called it a 'shakedown.'" This tragedy should not be a political football. BP has done irreparable harm to living beings, not to mention to the livelihoods of many, many people, whom their CEO keeps referring to as "the little people." How damned condescending can you get?
One ray of hope, Jean-Michel Cousteau has gathered resources and established programs to preserve a "clean area" in the Pacific, and he is also working with island peoples to create living styles that will preserve, not destroy the environment. You can find out more at this link:
The link below is to the blog of Larry Ray, retired journalist who has lived much of his life on the Gulf, and who writes compellingly of what is going on there. Also with a note of hope.
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