Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oil spill emotions

I haven't been discussing the oil spill debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, mostly because I've been practicing my head in the sand routine since there's not a whole lot I can do about it and because it's so depressing. There are so many issues at play here that it's difficult, if not impossible, to summarize all of them in this post, but I wanted to check in and find out how you all are handling it.

In addition to the environmental devastation, trauma to fish, sea mammals and everything up and down the food chain, there's the economic disaster that will result. You can't put a price on the toll this will take.

So, in addition to how you feel about this tragedy, how are you dealing with it? Do you find comfort in knowing as much as possible or do you find it easier to ignore the problem? Or do you think it's just not that big of a deal, we'll get it cleaned up and life will go on as usual?

Image courtesy of Getty Images

47 comments:

LatigoLiz said...

Totally sick about it, but trying not to give it too much energy though because there is probably nothing I can really do about it to change the outcome. I'd love to do something but taking care of the home front comes first. So, I guess that is the head-in-the-sand response, eh?

Heidi said...

Head in the sandish, as well. It makes me feel sick to my stomach to look at the photos so I don't. I can't save us.
I've been moving in the Divine Retribution direction lately, you know? Like, all the terrible stuff that's been going down in our country in the last decade is paybacks for the way we've raped and pillaged the natural world all OVER the world...America has a bloody, nasty history that we really can't escape. Bad mambajamba.
Heidi

TaraChristiane said...

I can't look at anything to do with the spill right now. It's like I just can't compute. Soon the currents will carry the spill to the area we have vacationed at for the last 12 years. We've grown to love all the wildlife there... we spend hours watching fish and birds, small creatures on the shore. When I think of those dear animal friends losing their homes, their lives... it literally makes me want to throw up.

Olivia said...

Head in sand with one eye occasionally peeking out. Trying to do positive things in my own little world to stop feeling overwhelmed and despondent about all the negatives out there. That can be paralyzing.

Billie said...

I looked at some photos and starting crying so keep up with the basics and try to avoid the rest.

There isn't a whole bunch I can do and I sure hope it doesn't turn out as bad as I fear it will.

Berry said...

There IS something we can do, however small. http://www.matteroftrust.org/ has a donation system set up where they collect natural fibre (hair, fur, wool, even nylons) and turn them into mats that absorb oil. I know it doesn't stop the oil leak, but it might help clean up the aftermath. Please check it out, go to your local hair salon, pet groomer...

This makes me totally ill, especially when I think of long-term ecological impact. Can we say entire eco-systems will be destroyed? gah

TheSimplePoppy said...

I've been listening to the coverage on NPR, but I'm not seeking it out. I mean, there isn't anything to do, it's horrible, and like TaraChristiane, it's probably going to ruin an area I have fond memories of and that my mom had to cancel her vacation for this week, just in case. Plus listening to these BP jerks just makes me want to kill something.

panamamama said...

I am so sick I don't know what to do. My kids can't stop talking about it either. "You mean it won't be back like it was when we went to the beach this spring break until I'm your age mom?" So scary. I don't know what we can do. I told my hubby I'd like to go down and see what we can do, but I know they only are letting folks with HAZMAT training work most of the beach stuff.

Mary said...

Depressed, overwhelmed, and guilty everytime I crank up my car (doesn't even help much that I drive a Toyota Echo, 40 mpg, mainly to wrk, and have arranged a 4-day work week with my employer so I don't have to drive that extra day, I still know that I own a piece of that disaster).

Chile said...

In my opinion, the best thing one can do about it is look at the big picture. Do everything in your power to REDUCE YOUR OIL CONSUMPTION! Drive less, eat local, reduce plastics, ya'll know the drill...

Beany said...

Mostly head in the sand. I've avoided looking at pictures and videos of the spill. It makes me so incredibly sad. Anger is very easy of an emotion to come by, but Sara Gilbert's article gave me a lot of comfort:

Today I have little rage toward oil companies and coal companies. They are, after all, doing a service for billions of us with their gas tanks and electricity meters. We're all to blame. Though I no longer drive, though I live in a city (Portland, Ore.) where I can choose renewable sources of electricity (wind farms and hydroelectric power), the spill weighs heavily on my soul.

How can we stop causing such terrible disasters? It's not easy, surely; it takes a recalibration of our true needs. "But I must drive" -- to work, to the grocery store, to pick up your children from school, to take your mother to the hospital, you may be saying to yourself. I know people who chose a job that paid $20,000 more each year with an 80-mile round-trip, people who need to live in roomy suburbs and commute to the city, people whose needs for consumption and activities and the right schools require driving each day, spending hours on the road in the service of more money, more opportunity, more stuff.

Katy said...

I live on the Gulf coast and work for a law firm that well, lets just say is a friend to a lot of oil companies. I have been trying the head in the sand thing because every time I think about it I just get mad. Furious really. I know this whole thing could have been prevented. I know what cost cuting jerks these people are. More than anything to know that an ecosystem has been distroyed and millions of lives have been lost and distroyed so that a few oil companies could improve their profit margins just makes me sick!

jinman2871 said...

It's infuriating to me that no one ever had a contingency plan in place for ALL of the off shore oil drilling that's been going on for years. All this time and it never occurred to anyone that this could happen and what to do when it did.
That said, I try to NOT watch the news because this makes me too sad, too angry and too scared. Actually, pretty much everything on the news makes me too sad, too angry and too scared! Shame on anyone who thinks we should do MORE drilling.

rfs said...

I think blaming is satisfying but useless really -if it comes without action. To quote from David Suzuki (our eco-hero up here in Canada):

"A more thoughtful response to the spill would be to recognize the huge risks associated with the kind of energy we use and the way we get it. .....The problems are only going to get worse as we reach peak oil, when the most accessible sources of oil are all but gone and we must rely even more on the dirtier and harder-to-reach supplies in the deep ocean or tar sands.

We can't stop using fossil fuels immediately, but we should see this latest disaster as an opportunity to look at the costs of our energy use and where we should go from here. Clearly we must wean ourselves from oil and gas as we make the transition to cleaner sources of energy."

Driving a car? can you do change something in your lifestyle so that you can drive less? can you buy locally? Can you stop overconsuming? etc etc

Kim from Milwaukee said...

It infuriates me that we don't put more stringent restrictions of oil drilling companies and require them to have safety plans and backup procedures in place so that this kind of thing doesn't happen. Didn't we learn anything from the Exxon Valdez oil spill? Why wasn't anything done to keep this from happening again?

I'm so angry.

I voted for Obama, and I still believe his heart's in the right place. I hope he can put a stop to the way these oil companies do business and get us off our oil dependence. I want affordable electric cars and solar power!!!

Brad K. said...

About 1979, 1980, a Mexican oil well blew out or something. I recall there was a lot of ridicule and denigration of the Mexican oil company involved. I wonder if BP has sent them an apology note . . In Corpus Christi, TX, they were selling t-shirts "Where were you when the slick hit the sand?" Recall that there isn't a whole lot to put Corpus Christi on the map but the US Navy air station there, and the beach-bound tourists. The city survived through the thing, even though the beaches suffered balls of tar washing up.

What I notice about this time around (like, no one ever thought there could be an oil spill, in 30 years of operations? After the damage to platforms in Katrina? Gack.), is that most of the "response" is involved in getting government payments going.

If you consider Peak Oil or the credit crises as driving forces behind economic descent - then the appropriate response should be to adapt as the slick hits the sand. Fish and birds gone? Move to where they still are, for now. Oil used to erupt naturally, till man started plumbing the obvious oil bodies. Left entirely to itself, the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico will adapt, and in time recover. The only true "emergency" is the artificial support of the affluence of people affected. Right now the drive-by media, politicians, and various activists are frothing themselves into a frenzy, trying to establish some enormously important reason they should get air time, recognition, and, hopefully, federal dollars.

I expect that the blow out will impact me, in raised oil prices as resources, including energy, are diverted to cap the flow, to chart the flow, to clean up the horrendous toxic SNAFU (do young people still use that phrase, "situation normal: all fouled up"?) of the government's intervention so far, dumping toxic crap to "manage" the moderately toxic oil. It seems to me dumping straw on the oil would accomplish about the same thing, plus put some airplane companies and farmers in the way of honest revenue. (That would be several stacks of straw!)

What I wonder, is why they cannot put a low-pressure "dome" or canister about the well, to catch and slow the oil, then harvest it.

The real answers to the spill will be the technically savvy people with a stake in the well and the industry. The rest of the ballyhoo is about politics and tax money, and Congress and the President have proven quite resistant to prudence, effectiveness, or responsiveness to reality, so I just sit and watch.

Condo Blues said...

I got my hair cut and donated it to Matter of Trust. They use it to make boons to clean up oil spills because hair attracts oil better than the orange boons you see on the news. Which in an odd twist of fate are made from petroleum by-products.

I already work from home so my driving is limited. When I do drive my car I group errands to reduce my need for gas. My donation is small but it's SOMETHING and I wasn't going to do anything with my hair anyway so why not put it to good use? It's like my Gift of the Magi to the environment :)

Elisabeth said...

Sadly, my reaction has mostly been "So it goes." Not because I don't care, but because it was always going to happen. I've spent most of my life on the Gulf coast; it's my home. The ecosystem is beautiful...IF you can see into the past, through the film of human consumption, waste, and destruction. But the oil spill doesn't really depress me any more than walking through filth that's washed up on state coastline. If you've ever seen the "wild" coast that hasn't been cleaned up for the public beaches, you know what I mean. The Gulf is America's cesspool. So, all I'm saying is that this is the logical conclusion to the cycle of consumerism, the apocalypse of our lifestyle. I mourn our foolishness, but I also take responsibility. If you use chemical products, plastic containers, synthetic fibers, or gas powered vehicles you are partly responsible. I am, and the gravity of that is sobering.

Susan P. said...

I'm doing everything I can to push lawmakers to adopt strict rules on offshore drilling and to put money into alternative energy. Over the years, we've greatly reduced our use of plastic, but I'm trying to reduce even more, and to make more people aware of the fact that many plastics are made from crude oil and natural gas. Stop using it, everyone! I'm also asking the environmental groups to which I belong to demand the resignation of Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, as he has approved drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico SINCE the spill started. He's obviously not a responsible steward of the environment. Are we doomed? Probably, but what we do on the way there still matters.

On a different topic: Crunchy, I read your post yesterday and was so sorry to hear your bad news. Have you considered a macrobiotic diet? It can be very effective in curing cancer, or in giving the cancer patient a longer life. Denny Waxman, a very well known macrobiotic cancer, could be someone to consult. He has a website, www.dennywaxman.com. There's also the Kushi Center, established by Michio Kushi, one of the founders of macrobiotics.

Christina said...

Berry, thanks for the link to Matter of Trust - I'll be visiting my stylist and convincing her to participate, contributing my time and funds to packaging and shipping.

I heard a clip on the hearings where someone said, essentially, stop the blaming, if you have a car, a stove, a boat, this spill is on you too. I do blame the companies, they hold the bulk of the responsibility because they divert as much money as they can to profits rather than to necessary environmental safety measures. But for the part that's on me, I'm going to keep on keepin' on - sold our second car, using funds to improve bicycle infrastructure (lights, safety gear), keeping our other car in the driveway as much as possible, home food production, all the usual energy reducing strategies. Where I'm struggling is how to talk to others about changes they can make...

Old Wise One said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old Wise One said...

Corrected version
It pretty much sucks for us in S. LA as it is an important part of our economy, and source of food and recreation for us. I suspect the root cause is oil companies rolling the dice to take advantage of lack of gov oversight for monitary purposes. As many have said the real problems lies in Americans addiction to energy from cheap oil prices which takes us back to money as a cause.

Anonymous said...

Lets wake up and face it. Its not them, the oil companies, BP or anyone else that makes this happen. It is you and I and the choices we make. Every bit of oil we use is part of a disaster- somewhere, sometime. We may not see it but that is going to change as the results of our habits come home to roost.

Patty said...

I'm not head in the sand, I'm aware, but I'm busy and havn't been able to spend much time listening to the news. Also as I'm in Houston I'm somewhat familiar with the industry and am frustrated by A-officials and corporate people downplaying the problem and B-news media giving false info for shock value. I am amazed at how many people are head in the sand but I think the world as a whole is getting tired. Every moment there is another flood, earthquake, volcanic erruption, hurricane or oil spill (not to mention man made issues with bombings and shootings). America is like the tired mom at the 3am feeding that is just overwhelmed, tired and frustrated but keeps going. The blame game won't get us anywhere, we have to keep going and keep doing better.
I work for a company that is sending employees to work in this BP response. I don't know how much in the planning and how much in the scrubbing the birds with soap we'll be doing but we are involved. I still want to do more.
I have an added worry about it being hurricane season in the gulf. Hurricanes feed off of warmer waters and though it takes a lot to change the temperature of that much water I wonder if burning the oil is adding enough heat to the water and particles to the air to cause something really scary to come. Its terrible enough that the oil will be washing ashore but what would happen if a hurricane came though and picked up all this oily water and dumped it on the land across the country?
Lawyers are gearing up. This will make and break many peoples careers. I saw that Exxon Valdese had a ruling just last year 20 years after and still battling in courts. Damage contol the spill now, fuss out the legal later.

Kate said...

I'm definitely putting it out of sight and out of mind. (Not having a tv helps a lot with that.)

The thing is, I know it's my fault. On the one hand, there's nothing I can do about the spill. On the other hand, I use oil in many forms: in my personal car, in the plastic that's in every room of my house, and to transport every single item I buy. If I didn't own a car and did without most of the stuff I purchase, my conscience would be lighter. We all voted with our consumer lifestyles for this outcome. We all did this.

In the end, all I can do is keep working towards a greater degree of self-sufficiency, and less dependence on fossil fuels. I'm nowhere true independence, but it's a start.

Susan P. said...

Sorry - that should have been "macrobiotic counselor". Jeez!

Jen said...

I don't even know where to start or what to say. So I guess I am avoiding having to talk about it. It is just so damn sad and fucked up. I really can not even grasp the enormity of the situation.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I'm completely frustrated. I deal with it by emailing articles and videos to my sub, since I know they're studying fossil fuels now. I hope that at least the kids will be inspired to reduce their consumption and explore other options.

Holly said...

The whole thing sucks. It makes me feel like all the efforts that I make to lessen my impact, protect my children, help the world and try to be a better person are pointless. It is really getting me down. Totally depressing. BUT it is also motivating me to want to go to law school, be an environmental lawyer and to help get stricter regulations in place to avoid this again. Time to grab legislators by their huevos and get the important stuff in place.

Oldnovice said...

It's just another year for big oil companies. My husband and I worked for Standard/American Oil for enough years to get pensions and considerable stocks, so we know something about the blame game and the cost savings that endanger worker lives as well as the environment. BP bought Standard/American Oil, so here we are paying our house taxes with dividends from BP stock each year.

We live in North Texas, so going to Houston or Galveston isn't common for us, but on the few occasions we've been to the gulf I thought the water too polluted to allow my kids to enter it, and that was 10 years ago or more.

Sometimes shit just happens. If we don't "harden" ourselves to the disasters that strike the world daily, we'll drive ourselves crazy.

Betsy said...

Angry. Angry, sad, and discouraged. In one day, more oil is flowing than I will save in a lifetime of biking and ridesharing. And volunteering we do just enables the oil companies to repeat the crime.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Well said Chile, BP... Beyond Pollution?

Spice said...

Long time no post... i've been busy planting plants and trying to keep my foot from falling apart.

I'm so angry about the oil spill and the fast shuffle everyone's doing to get rid of the blame (responsibility).

I actually drive four miles further than necessary the other day to avoid buying gas from BP. (I know it was bad to drive further, but I'm so angry)

Carol-Leah said...

Patty: "Lawyers are gearing up" This is what is wrong with our world, Lawyers. Fix things and never mind the Lawyers who are only here for the money.

Old Novice: "harden ourselves or go crazy" Better that we do the right thing and fix things so we can leave a better planet than we have now.

In Canada, BP is trying to get the Government to relax their safety rules because they say they are not necessary. My God, do they not read the news? If Canada capitulates the world is in deep trouble. The Arctic oceans do not need BP or any other oil company messing about. There is enough trouble in the north with global warming already.

Oldnovice said...

I hear ya, Carol-Leah, but there's only so much(many) tsunamis, earthquakes, oil spills, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, suicides, homicides, infanticides, cancers, extended etc. that any of us can handle before we crack.

The world can't be fixed to resemble our ideals, but that doesn't mean that each of us can't do the best we can do every day even if the effort is Sisyphean.

My age is showing.

Dale said...

I just want to thank everyone that acknowledges the fact that all of us that use oil derived products share the blame for what has happened.
There is a lot more involved than just gasoline use. Plasticrap is just as much a part of it.
I was disappointed with the President yesterday when he was handing out blame and didn't include all of us consumers.
I was proud of him, though, for publicly chastising the oil executives. They deserved it as much as did the Supreme Court Justices when he chewed their asses out in front of the nation.

Robj98168 said...

There is not a lot I can do about it. What really makes me sick/mad/fed up is to see the three CEO's sit in front of congress like the 5th graders in front of the principle and procede to point fingers and say He did it - It's his fault. I have a bad feeling that, like Exxon Oil in the Exxon Valdez, BP is going to do everything in their power to pay pennies on the dollar for the cleanup and compensating those whose livelyhoods are affected. Course what else should I expect from an oil company and a dick cheney company??

Jen said...

I live in the area affected by the spill, and mostly how my friends and I are dealing with it is by going to visit our gorgeous sugar-white beaches as much as possible before the oil hits (if it does).

I think we try not to talk about it, mostly. It's depressing. I have been surprised by a lot that I've learned about the oil spill, and spills in general.

I think it's important to remember that 11 people died in this tragedy.

Also, the "dispersants" that BP is pumping into the oil are distributing the oil throughout the water column rather than allowing it to rest on the surface, which while it allows the bacteria in the water to break it down more quickly, it also 1) makes it impossible to measure the amount of the spill because it's no longer visible on the surface, and 2) killing the wildlife throughout the water column rather than just those that come in contact with the surface.

This really pisses me off.

It's hard to manage our emotions about it, for sure.

Greenpa said...

I have often injected cataclysm into economic discussions. As in; "When do YOU think all the world economies will really crash?"

What folks always leave out of those conversations about causes, effects, and timing, is the power of nature to upset people's piddly processes.

How would we all cope if "The Big One" actually hit LA; for example? We're already broke and depressed- we just really don't have the ability to cope with disasters like that. Or if Yellowstone started in a real eruption? Or a Richter 9 earthquake hit Seattle? Or a 8 earthquake hits Puerto Rico generating a tsunami for FL and the Gulf?

Really bad things can and do happen- and the effects on daily life and economies and jobs and all that stuff- can be really really bad.

This leak is really, really bad. A whole lot of little guys are going to go broke; start abusing their kids and family, rob banks, commit suicide, etc.

If I were in charge? ... ah, what fun fantasies.

Have the Marines and Seals and whatnot catch every BP exec they can; along with Helliburton, Anadarko, and the federal officials who were living in their wallets, where ever they are in the world; and take them all to Guantánamo. Throw away the key. Seize every nickel they own, where ever it is; give it all away fast to the little guys. You get the idea.

Wouldn't help much, but it would sure feel good.

Zee @GreenBlossoms said...

We at Green Blossoms watched the oil spill news in horror -- definitely a mix of emotions there --frustration, infuriation, depression, anger, etc. It's heartbreaking, considering the long term damage the spill brings.

We're miles away and we can't pack up our things to go help in the cleanup in every way we can so what we recently did was write a post on how we can help in the cleanup -- donate hair! That's right, human hair and pet hair. It's known to be oil absorbent and it's just comforting to know that many salons have agreed to participate and donate all hair for the cleanup.

Still, it's heartbreaking to think about all the damage to the marine habitat as well as the livelihood of fishermen there. :(

Greenpa said...

Somebody evidently suggested that the oil leaks should be plugged with BP executives...

I like it! "-)

kidk4m said...

There was an interesting piece on this disaster last night on 60 Minutes. They interviewed one of the folks that worked on the rig. Quite the eye-opener; didn't surprise me one bit to hear that short cuts (in an attempt to make schedule) had been taken.

On NPR last week there was a discussion about whether or not we should all just boycott BP-I for one didn't realize that the oil that is obtained "off-shore" of the US doesn't necessarily get sold in the US-it gets sold on the open-market. So even if we all reduce our consumption, "off-shore" drilling will still be with us.

That being said, my reaction to this disaster is to keep cutting back on all things petroleum derived. Drive less/buy less-use less. I recently biked to an appointment and every one asked me why? My response-it's not enough to be bothered by the oil disaster-we each need to so something that reduces our oil consumption. They all nodded..and then went back to chatting about upcoming Memorial Day vacations.

As much as I don't want to have my "head in the sand"...I just can't watch what is happening to the wildlife/fish etc. My guess is that what we're being shown is really just the tip of the "iceberg". I'm sure that all the toxic chemicals being piped in to disperse the oil is going to have a catastrophic impact also.

doug fuson said...

Our son moved to the New Orleans area about a year ago. They were loving it and especially the seafood. He was going out fishing with friends. They live on a canal with ducks. It may seem like a small thing but it was one of the little joys that make life good. We were visiting about a week after the oil gusher hit. Everyone was trying to figure out what the weird smell in the air was from. Authorities said it couldn't be from the oil - really?

Lil said...

Head in the sand, with sad resignation. I just look at the news thinking too few people are taking care of the leak. I'm even trying to cut feelings on this subject, especially when people around me are briefly talking about it, just like any other unimportant piece of news. It seems so far away for them that they don't care. And I am slowly preparing myself to watch our ship sink...Sometimes i think it's taking too long. ha, guess I'm really depressed after all !

Sharlene said...

What am I doing? Crying, yelling, looking for someone in Big Oil to beat the living daylights out of. Feeling disgust for what money and greed is doing to our ecsystem. Praying that this will help create some change and further along research and availability of alternative fuel sources. But mostly, just feeling sick.

everydayfrugaleverydaygreen@gmail.com said...

I am one who ordinarily can't get enough information...I'll just keep digging and read everything i can find. But this oil spill debacle is so upsetting, I just can't even look. I turn the page, change the channel or the subject. It makes me feel like all my efforts - my recycling-fanatic rants at the office, my turing off the lights, turning down the heat, not running the water and only buying used is all for nothing because the environment is being ruined anyway.

Anonymous said...

Actually there is a whole lot you and everyone can do: stop using oil.

The United States has roughly 5 % of the global population but uses about a quarter of the world... See More’s fossil fuel resources—burning up nearly 25 % of the coal, 26 % of the oil, and 27 % of the world’s natural gas.

Eat local, shop local, don't use throw away items, don't eat meat, don't use plastic... we all choose how we live and it is up to each and everyone of us to change and not always look to the government to handle all our problems.
Volunteer, help out your neighbor, your local animal shelter, the list goes on.

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