Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

I kayak. I absolutely love it. My guy and I bought a tandem Olde Town kayak that is huge right after I bought my 2008 Honda Element. If I am going to have an SUV it is going to be a good one that gets good gas mileage, and that I can wash out so my dog can be as messy as he’d like and I don’t have to care. The kayak fits beautifully right on top without too much effort and we have been all over Florida utilizing it fully.

One particular area we love to kayak is right off of Naples on the west coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, a place called Lover’s Key. Hilariously enough we noticed that this happens to be a nudist beach unwittingly. Hey, whatever floats yer boat. We do not partake but we also do not judge. Who can blame them for getting back to nature in such a stunningly beautiful spot. And it is simply gorgeous. Just about 500 feet off the coast past the half foot breakers we have been immersed in pods of dolphin playfully swimming and checking us out on numerous occasions. Tons of birds of all kinds swoop in and out of the area, run along the beach and fish around us as we paddle through. It is heavenly.

We have spent countless days lounging in the kayak here, sipping ice cold beers and floating in the warm waters hanging on the sides of the kayak soaking it all in. No sounds other  than the lapping waters and calls of birds. Many times we have both said this is what life is all about…

About 50 days ago now BP, the British Petroleum company, had an oil rig in the Gulf waters blow up and kill 11 workers. And the damage is still happening as the leak is still not capped and billions and billions of gallons of oil is spilling every minute of every day into the Gulf. Still. The oil has made fishermen in the area sick, it has contaminated the waters and is washing ashore into habitats and grasslands and marshes and reefs. It is killing everything in it’s path. It is killing the environment. It is killing the sea creatures. It is killing birds and wildlife. It is probably slowly killing humans who are exposed to it. And it has killed the livelihoods and economy of the people who make it their home.

I am not going to soapbox here on the political aspects of all of this. There are plenty of other websites that do that every single day. I am not even going to get into the ecological impact of what this will do to our planet and the life we have. I am not even going to whine about the fact that being a vegetarian I only sometimes diverge and eat fresh fish as I have always loved it and being Italian I just can’t seem to help myself. But now I believe I will be ending that habit for fear of contamination and I do not trust the FDA to control anything of this nature at all.

But more than all of this, I am sad. I am sad that it has come to this. That my playground in the waves that I share with the most beautiful of creatures is dying. That the gorgeous beaches of the Gulf areas, the wonderful gastronomy of New Orleans, the other-worldliness of the marshes and swamps will be threatened by this greed and power.  I am just sad.

I am prepared to help with the clean up if and when the oil starts to get closer to my playground. I am prepared to HAZMAT myself and scrub clean the pelicans and egrets and anhingas to try to save as many as I can. And I hope against hope and logic that it can help make even the smallest of differences.

And more than anything else, I hope this serves as a wake up call to all of us that this world and this life are precious and money is fleeting. You can not enjoy money if you are dead or have no world to spend it on, but these things that are here right in front of us that have been here longer than the human race… these are what is important and we should take heed. Life and the earth are precious. And the only thing I will soapbox on is that as a consumer your dollars are your voice… and we do not have to support the very things that are out to destroy us.

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~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on June 8, 2010.

One Response to “Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico”

  1. I, too, own a couple of yaks and love to splash them in the Gulf or Atlantic. This mess with the oil should be an indictment on all of us, not just BP and the US government, although they have just a tad more responsibility for the ecological disaster.

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