Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Want to Love All of Us--So Make Me

After my "I Hate All of Us" post I want to know what your garden, your neck of the woods, will be doing differently after seeing images of the spill in the Gulf. If you want to be inspired, here's the original post. And if you want to see what all our plastic does to birds, see the pics of birds at this post.

So, lay it on me and all of us, you who have stumbled to this blog like an oil-caked brown pelican--from now on known as a super brown glossy sheen pelican with cancer.

-- What have you thought about doing differently in you garden to encourage wildlife since the spill?
-- What actions are you taking inside or outside the house related to the garden, and beyond the garden to the much larger one we all share?
-- Anyone going in debt to install solar panels? Wind turbines?
-- Any local town or city things going on in response to the oil?
-- Any talk of, oh, gee, maybe looking at natural gas at least, if not wind or solar, or at least not shipping our oil to other countries and than importing oil from still other countries?

And as for birds stuffed to death with plastic debris in the ocean, maybe we should stop shipping our trash to Asia, where, surely, it blows off of those ships on its long journey to countries whose environmental laws allow dumping computer parts along the creek's edge where the local village gets paid pennies to sort out the recyclable components (China, talking to you). The U.S. needs to set an environmental example now (and this does not include Obama mentioning "ass kicking" when referring to the oil spill, not enough), and create economic pressure as a result on other nations that are becoming industrialized--other nations that will pollute a heckuva lot more than we ever have.


Town Mouse said...

Benjamin, I think it's complicated. I'm already riding my bike to work most days and we have a plug-in hybrid. In 10 days Mr. Mouse and I will move most of the furniture out so the great energy efficiency remodel can start. He'll (hopefully) post on it once we've started.

Problem is, I seem to have trouble getting the message across. No one wants to hear that consuming less, driving a smaller car, avoiding air travel is a good idea. No one believes that life can be fun with a certain amount of restraint. The addiction to oil runs deep, and I wish I had the answer. Meanwhile, being in my garden helps me become more centered and joyful, and just possibly talk to others from that place of contentment will be more effective than being angry and judgemental.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I've volunteered at the International Bird Rescue Research Center (who is one of the lead organizations working with wildlife at the Gulf spill) on and off over the years. I have worked on oil spills and algal blooms.

We try to be very frugal with our use of energy and water resources. We don't own a clothes dryer and we use greywater on our garden. We try to avoid buying cheap throw-away goods, instead buying fewer items that will hopefully last for years.

I need to get back into wild animal care. The last few years have been difficult and hectic and I stopped making time for this volunteer work.

Diana Studer said...

It is easy to boycott BP. Much harder to 'boycott' oil. When we lived in Switzerland, society is willing and able to collect recycling. But newspapers for instance were hardly worth collecting, because people don't follow through and BUY the RECYCLED product.

When it comes to the crunch they prefer fresh new virgin fibre, or don't care. As for the affluent First world sending its recycling to the Third world. What can I say?! We once travelled from Europe to East Africa on a freighter. It was loaded with rusty old cars. Some so old they had to be pushed off the boat, couldn't be driven.

Unknown said...

I am actually growing much more of my own food. And preserving it. It's a win-win-win situation: I eat healthier, I have less impact on the environment, and it makes my soul happy to watch things grow. I've also been trying to buy more bulk foods, and take reusable containers to the store. As you can imagine, this works best at whole foods stores... the grocery chains are now okay with me bringing my own bags, but they still look a little nonplussed when I take out an old yogurt container to corral green beans. :)

Adrian Ayres Fisher said...

Besides living frugally in an urban neighborhood (so as not to have to use the car so much), I've centered my life around helping promote biodiversity in the Chicago area.

Anger is a natural reaction, and then, I think, grief, and then one must work proactively or fall into the slough of despond.

Lynne said...

Benjamin, I must agree with Town Mouse - this problem is complicated, and much bigger than one individual can fix (can it really be fixed completely?).
As an individual, I have no control/influence over BP, or its drilling practices. But I can watch my local governments: City, Provincial and Federal governments, and pay attention to their environmental legislation. I have some small say in that area, but it does involve becoming active, going to meetings, emailing and writing to elected reps.
The other sphere where I have control is in my own life and home. So, what am I doing? Converted my home heating to a Heat Pump (run by electricity). Bought a smaller car. Grow vegetables in my yard (hanging in pots off the eaves to save them from the deer!) Pick berries, and catch fish, and make very careful choices at the grocery store.
It all comes down to making thoughtful choices.

Marguerite said...

Benjamin, I'm so glad to see this developing into a conversation. For most of us, the idea of stopping a company like BP is on such a large scale we feel overwhelmed. I'm trying to think more of what I personally can do. Make changes in my life and discuss these changes with others, encouraging them to make changes themselves. Oil is our culture and the basis of our economy. It will take time and strong people one by one to find a new path. In our house, whenever something threatens to overwhelm, we always ask each other "How Do You Eat An Elephant?" The answer, One Bite At A Time.

Ginny said...

I believe we must be aware and educated about what's happening across the planet but we need to focus our response on what we can do at home and in our communities. We use natural gas, not oil for heating and cooking. We don't use pesticides. We recycle. We drive small energy efficient cars. We buy local organic produce whenever possible. Spending time in my garden gives me joy while reminding me constantly of the beauty of creation and of the reason we should be environmentally responsible. My husband, who works for The American Red Cross, blogged about the oil spill today at

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

More than ever, I'm bringing my canvas bags to the store and refusing their plastic bags. We are seriously considering solar panels for the house. We recycle. We don't use pesticides, we try to buy fruit locally and in season. I've explained more than once to the kids why we aren't buying apples and grapes from Argentina. I wish there was more we could do.

Helen at summerhouse said...

Besides recycling, paying attention to waste of fuel in our small car and our heating, and other eco things, I think the biggest thing we do is not to buy new. Almost everything we have, from computer to furniture and even clothing is second hand. It's a way of life that I talk about a lot on my blog. We don't need new, there is an abundance of good used products. As an artist I even make my art from recycled dishes.

Pam said...

I'm ordering a solar hot water (outdoor) shower in a few days. Everyone in my neck of the woods should have one.

But unfortunately I'm horribly cynical right now and don't think that my getting a solar shower will do a damn thing. We need a cultural shift - we've co-evolved with oil as a societ/planet, to different degrees (did you see my Petromammal thing? Folks HATE it because they don't want to accept that they're completely immersed in oil everyday - there was a great piece recently that said that the oil spill isn't what's obscene - it's just visual - that what is obscene is the IV of petroleum products connected to our veins). We've got to reduce our dependency on oil - and unfortunately money too, but it's basically greed that has kept oil in power this long. Have you ever read the book 'The Prize'? It's a fascinating look at the history of oil. It's so integrated into our lives that we don't even see it anymore - until, of course, it's coating pelicans.