The oil spill

If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you must not have a tv, radio, or computer… and in that case you wouldn’t be here now would you?

NASA’s Earth Observatory image of the oil slick near the Mississippi Delta. (NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC)

I have been avoiding NPR lately when the boys are in the car. They have big ears those two. And they absorb everything they hear. This can be good and has started some incredible discussions, but as you can imagine there are a lot of things that they don’t need to be worrying about, more they don’t understand, and some I just don’t need them hearing!

But, this morning I was interested to listen to the coverage on the oil spill. I only had my oldest in the car and thought, if anything, it might lead to some conversation on the importance of conservation. Of course, the short drive to school does not always provide enough time to get into depth on any topic.

Firefighting boats spray seawater onto the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 21, 2010. The oil platform burned for 36 hours after a massive explosion, then later sank into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, April 22, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard said. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

He has a lot of questions. (So do I.)

Why is the oil dangerous?

Why did the scientists make the well so that it would leak oil?

Why can’t they just put more sand there (on the beach)?

What do we need so much oil for?

Is it going to come here?

What are they going to do to fix it?

Workers move containment booms to a smaller vessel on the Mississippi River at Port Eads, Louisiana on Thursday, April 29, 2010. A huge effort is underway to help mitigate the effects of an oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bill Haber)

And then it was time to drop him, in the pouring rain, with enough questions to drive his teacher crazy. I promised we could talk more later, but now I am wondering how best to approach this?

So far, the estimates are saying that 200,000 gallons of oil a day are leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. This spill is on the fast track to overtake the 1989 Exxon Valdez tragedy as the worst oil spill in history.

Weathered oil from a leaking pipeline that resulted from last week’s explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This must be an emergency.

Um, yep. And one that is killing people, animals, and the economy and will continue to have a serious impact for years to come.

A team from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research treated an oil-covered Northern Gannet on Friday in Fort Jackson, La. (Photo Credit: REUTERS/Sean Gardner)


So…. What is the lesson here?

Do I focus on the reasons we all need to reduce our oil consumption? Maybe.

Do I talk about our society’s lack of regard for the health and safety of human and animal lives if it affects the bottom line? Not so sure about that one…

Do I mention that there are still idiots that don’t think this is a huge disaster, when even some of the strongest supporters of “Drill, baby, drill,” are now silent? Hmm, maybe not in those words.

What I do know is that for the young ones, they like to feel helpful. So we are going to find a way to help. And that is the best I can do for now…

Birds at risk. (Photo Credit: Bill Stripling, courtesy of the National Audubon Society)

How you can help:

Help organizations along the Gulf Coast. Many organizations are asking for volunteers to be ready to help with cleaning and rehabilitating animals, report sightings of oiled wildlife and other oil related damage, and donations to aid the effort. (Note: Please do not try to assist injured animals on your own, please report to an organization near you)

Speak up for cleaner energy choices so that we can avoid a disaster like this in the future. Contact your senator today and let your voice be heard.

Walk the walk. We are in this mess because of our continually growing need for more and more oil. Reduce your consumption of oil. A good start would be to simply drive less.

What are you doing-planning-saying about the oil spill disaster?

ETA: Here are a few great resources for talking with your children about the oil spill.


The oil spill — 10 Comments

  1. …I just don't know…but what I do know is, my answer is not good enough

  2. I'm like Luree…………I just don't know the answer. It's not simple and that makes it frustrating. Will the small things I can do make an impact? I will stop driving so much. I will plan my trips to work and the store and just my everyday out and about and be better organized. I will try to stop buying products that are packaged in useless plastic and I will contact the stores and ask (again and again if necessary) that they stop using plastic packaging. And I am open to any suggestions, but will this make a difference? I used to think my generation would change the world, but it failed dismally. Then I hoped my childrens' generation would to the job, but….!!! And now my grandchildren will inherit our mess and it makes me sad.

  3. I know that I'm about as significant as a sandflea in the grand scheme of things. However, I'm going to utilize my sandflea nature by staying invisible while nipping at the ankles of others concience. I'm going to try every day to make the smallest personal footprint on the planet that I can. I am going to keep gently but firmly reminding others when their small choices are not helpful. For example: WHY should anyone buy those salads at fast food places? It's a salad for goodness sake. How in the world can it be important to package EVERYTHING separately, including the napkin?? If people keep questioning or refusing to buy products like that, then the corporations will make the large scale changes. Look what Walmart has done (see the movie Food, Inc.) They didn't decide to change their marketing because of a boardroom whim, Walmart changed because of what people would buy! Just noticing things like that and commenting kindly, to everyone, will make a difference. Like ripples in a pond or a pea kicked off a mountain. In our society, Money talks, even the pennies!

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  5. Pingback: Talking to your kids about the oil spill… |

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  7. Your experience of turning off the radio as your kids ride in the car and realizing that they ask some poignant questions is probably a relatable one for many informed parents. Your decision to find a way for your children to help those affected by the issues that upset them is a wise one.