How Mother Earth immigrated to America

Mother Earth is a woman who needs no introduction.

In the Old World, she’s been written up and talked about for a long, long time. Her stock was probably lowest around the sixteenth century, but since then she has come roaring back. Now pagans, poets, and environmentalists sing her praises, and everyone else has heard of her. (She has her own holiday, although people aren’t clear about which day it should be observed on.)

As best I can tell, though, she never visited the New World until after the Old World colonized it. She’s an immigrant. Continue reading “How Mother Earth immigrated to America”

The oil spill

A few more vignettes from Alabama and the northern Gulf coast:

Tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon spill appeared on the Dauphin Island shore on Saturday. According to the Mobile Press-Register, “about 100 workers in white hazmat suits, yellow boots and black gloves were picking up samples of black-stained sand near the pier, as beachgoers nearby waded in the water, played football and made sandcastles.” Continue reading “The oil spill”

The enormity of it

I’ve avoided mention of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico because there are no words for the enormity of it. The pessimist in me supposes that we can look forward to more of this kind of death-dealing merchant-adventurism in our future. The optimist in me is silent.

The only consequences BP appears likely to suffer are unanticipated expenditures, some nagging civil lawsuits, and a short-term drop in retail sales at the pump.

Compare that to the trashing of the two most vital ecosystems in the northern Gulf (the Mississippi and Alabama river deltas), not to mention the fisheries that thousands of people depend on for a living. Throw in the poisoning of uncounted sea and shore animals, at a time of year when birds converge on the Gulf coast to mate and raise chicks. To top it all, BP’s recklessness will pepper the Gulf’s beaches with nasty tarballs — that’s if we’re very lucky. If we’re unlucky, we’ll get a noisome coat of glistening crude that will sicken and kill for years to come.

We also get to be a laboratory for what happens when you squirt poisonous dispersants into a living sea. Anyone want to guess? Continue reading “The enormity of it”

Poor role model

The fire alarm sounded in the library. People heaved the usual sighs of disgust. It’s always some half-wit student pulling an alarm as a prank. But we know the drill: Pack up your things and exit the library in an orderly fashion. Firefighters will come and search the entire building. Once they are satisfied, we […]