Waiting for the Oil
Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Florida for work. Standing on the Madeira Beach near Tampa, I was struck by the fact that the residents here were waiting for oil to hit their shore—It could happen at any moment. Even though the oil was no longer gushing from BP’s deep water well, the damage from this catastrophe is far from over.
As I strolled along the beach, I came upon my favorite bird, a great blue heron, fishing on the shore. As the surf washed upon the shore, the heron would snatch up small fish.
Herons have always been a sign of peace, tranquility and even the presence of God in my life. I am comforted by these magnificent birds.
Watching the heron fish, I wondered if he (or she) would be a victim of the Gulf Oil Spill. I was amazed that the heron was still thriving on a beach that has been changed dramatically by us humans. The heron was able to keep fishing even as people walked a few feet from it. I hope that the heron, along with other wildlife in the Gulf, will be able to survive our latest great interference with their ecosystem…But I am worried they won’t.
I hope that we humans will learn a lot from the tragedy of the oil spill. Recognizing that my demand for oil for my car helped to create this whole disaster, I have learned a little more humility.
This disaster has also given me a greater awareness for the people in some countries, such as Nigeria, who have to live with continual oil spills. After walking through a creek, a Nigerian woman said, “There is Shell oil on my body.” This oil is also on my hands, because a few days ago I filled up with Shell gasoline.
This reminds us that the hardships poor communities face is often ignored by the media. A Nigerian man said, “Whatever cry we cry is not heard outside of here.”
Let’s listen to the cries of our brothers and sisters and the cries of the earth’s hurting creatures, and change our lives accordingly.