Ecological Lethargy

A Thought on the Oil Spill

An oil spill is a release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. - Wikipedia

"The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education." - Wendell Berry 

The oil spill has become this mirror into our frail society. A society that has been educated by history books that teach us that those at fault are everyone else but us. That what we do is right and everyone else is wrong. But, rather than playing the blame game, maybe its time we accept that it isn't a county by country problem, this is an issue about humanity. I think this is why we need to be re-educated even in terms of this oil spill. When we own up to the effects of our decisions than it forces us to make responsible decisions next time. We need to confess our ecological laziness. When King David confessed to God that he had been hiding something from Him/Her, there was a moment of radical healing. We can no longer risk ecological lethargy because so much more is at risk than our reputation, and the radical healing we could experience in our confession of such irresponsibility is incredibly holistic. This article isn't about condemnation but a hope for extreme change in what could seem like a hopeless situation. Horrific events like this remind us why we need each other.

The oil itself has become a symbol of our habitual need to blame someone else. There are fingers on both sides of the line pointing back at the other. I think what these fingers have failed to realize is that it isn't a political issue, religious issue, but an ecological issue that itself points back to humanity. If there is any redeeming point in this catastrophic event its that if we choose to, we can learn that our choices effect all of creation. That we need to be more cognizant of the effects on the world we have been chartered to care for. We must estrange ourselves from the idea that we can continue making poor choices and let others pay for it. In that regard, America has much to learn. We have a history filled with bad-decision making and expect others to clean up our mess. Much like the child who is growing and learning, I think its high-time we begin turning those outward-pointing fingers back on ourselves and begin finding relevant ways to clean up a mess we had a part in making.

Since this is an ecological problem this doesn't mean we can't look to the empty spaces on the shoreline for help. These empty spaces are waiting to be filled. For those of us who believe we are made from the very earth we are told to care for, this is a stark reminder that when the earth is distressed than we are too. It's one thing to throw a Snickers wrapper on the ground, and its another to allow this symbol of immbolisation to continue. So, what if the oil could become a better symbol?

Rather than a mirror into our narcissistic drives toward domination, maybe it could be an icon of our willingness to stand together globally and respond to those people, animals, trees and declare that we will not allow this destruction to continue. It is now being labeled the worst oil spill in history, what if we we turned it around and it became the point in history when humanity decided to stand up and tear down our illusionary fences, battle lines and indifferences and began working toward a better world?

Tikkun Olam is the Jewish belief that humanity can and should work together to make the world a better place. The moment we do nothing, the moment we are more concerned about who is getting the most blame or cash out of this event, is the moment we have helped blow the oil rig up itself. We have a choice set before us, life or death, death or life...which one will it be?

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