Thursday, June 10, 2010

Modern Day Hippie

It is not easy to live, as I do, in a small Alabamian town renown only for the racetrack that occupies it. It is a town buried beneath its traditions, far from diverse. So I am never surprised when I am stared at, frowned upon, ridiculed, or laughed at because of my appearance or my values. My hair is locked. I don't wear makeup or a bra. I am barefoot at every available opportunity. Needless to say, I am a stranger in a strange land.

I am an avid activist, anything from 'Save the Dolphins' to 'Legalize Marijuana.' I am wholeheartedly against war and nuclear proliferation. I believe in stopping off-shore drilling and spending that money on developing alternative energy methods. I believe the earth and all of its inhabitants, humans and animals alike, should be protected and respected, which is one of the many reasons I am a vegetarian. I feel as if the government is deceitful, fooling people into thinking that this country is still a democracy. We as a people, while our founding documents are still intact, need to rise up and take back control of our government and stop being mindless corpses sitting in front of our idiot boxes absorbing all the lies that they feed us.

I practice self-expression through art, music, and the written word. I lead a mostly organic lifestyle. Yoga calms my body and mind. I study various religions and practices throughout the world in an attempt to gather the core beliefs from each religion because I feel that ultimately they all believe in the same things: peace, love, equality, and unity.

I realize that this lifestyle is not socially accepted in this part of the country. I realize that with every Facebook post urging people to boycott BP or the war or meat. The backlash is unbelievable, forcing me to reconsider these people I call friends and to question the validity of my bloodline. Repeatedly, when being angrily criticized, I have been referred to as "hippy," like it is a derogatory word that would offend me. Unfortunately, I was not alive in the 60's to see firsthand who the hippies were. I can only gather from history, but according to my sources, hippies were lovers of nature, people, literature, art, and music. They were anti-war and anti-corporation. They were for peace, love, and equality. They acknowledged that we are all the same, stemming from the same earth, feeling the same emotions. Plus, they had a rad sense of style.

So I am not offended in the least to be considered a hippie. In fact, I embrace it. I am hippie. So you all can lay off with the childish name calling and defend your case using more appropriate, adult language.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Thoughts on the BP Oil Spill

No matter how many fancy words I speak or lengthy blogs I write, I cannot accurately describe my frustration towards and contempt for the oil industry. Foremost, I want to say that I have joined in with thousands of others to boycott BP, and I urge you all to do the same. There are more reasons for this than simply the fact that they are responsible for the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The main reason is that they are not handling the situation in a timely and efficient manner. The oil spill occurred on April 20, 2010. Since that time, an estimated 35 million gallons of oil have spilled into the gulf. That is a low estimate. BP did not make a single effort to control the spill until two and a half weeks after the spill began. On May 8, 2010, BP attempted to lower a box over the spill to stop the oil from gushing into the water, but it was to no avail. The company then admitted to having no back-up plan if the box failed, which they had been warned was very likely considering the frigid water temperature a mile below the surface where the rig is located would likely cause it to freeze over. This is exactly what happened. About a week later, BP decided to place a smaller dome on the leak. This is basically the original idea in a smaller form. Their concept is that the smaller box will contain less water than the larger one and will therefore be less vulnerable to a freeze. Unfortunately, it had the same results. The next thing that BP tried (which I, personally, think is the most ignorant "solution" they could come up with. It makes me wonder what sort of monkeys they have working for their company. Then I feel guilty for comparing them to monkeys because I am fairly positive that a monkey would have better ideas to control this disaster than BP officials) is to plug the leak with TRASH! The Coast Guard was appalled at the fact that they would even suggest something of this sort and did not expect it, and I concurred, to stop the leak. My immediate thought on this plan is that if it was not enacted correctly, the mud and cement that they were using would flood into the gulf, making the waters not only oil-filled but also full of debris, which is exactly what happened. It is a double-whammy for the local wildlife, which is one of my main concerns of this whole calamity. It is the peak nesting and spawning season for countless species of marine life, including fish, dolphins, and turtles. I find it hard to imagine adults, much less babies, surviving in oil-infused waters. On top of that, BP is using a dispersant called Corexit 9500 to break up the oil. First, I want to say that I am opposed to using a CHEMICAL to CLEAN up OIL. How can adding more harmful things to the water help our situation? Second, this dispersant is toxic to fish, mollusks, and crustaceans in their earliest forms. So basically, the dispersant itself, whose toxicity is four times greater than that of petroleum, is killing an entire generation of marine life. Furthermore, June 1 was the start of hurricane season. If a hurricane comes, oil could be blown up to 50 miles inland. If this happens, there is no hope for keeping the oil at bay. It will cover the beaches and the marshes and we will not be able to hold it back any longer. Our animals are dying! We can not allow this to continue!

slide_6569_87151_large slide_6569_97381_large  slide_6569_96900_large

(See more pictures here)

BP is not the only disaster of this sort, but it is quickly rising to the #1 spot in history as the largest oil spill that mankind has ever seen. The worst so far was Ixtoc in Mexico in 1979. This well was less than 200 feet below the surface, and it took 290 days (that is 10 months) to clean up the estimated 140 million gallons of oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico, despite having drilled three relief wells. One hundred and seventy miles of beaches were affected. The BP spill is different than Ixtoc in that the BP well is 25 times deeper than the Ixtoc well and is not as easily accessible as the Mexican spill was. Ixtoc was further away from sensitive coastlines, so although a lot of oil was spilled, the area it was in allowed for a swifter cleanup than is the case in our current situation. Due to the hurricane season that started on June 1, a relief well will not be completed until August. By that time, the BP oil spill will have replaced Ixtoc as the worst spill in history.

A spill of such enormous proportions begs to address the dependence that the world has on oil. Although there are alternative solutions, they are quick to be dismissed due in large part to the money that would be lost in transition. The oil companies run the world, and if everyone switched entirely to electric or, better yet, a simple and abundant mix of 2 parts hydrogen to 1 part oxygen, they would be forced to surrender their lead status. However, water can not be easily regulated, and oil companies will always be fed as long as people refuse to remove their hands from their ears and open their eyes to the disasters surrounding us. Everyone must rise up! Stand up! Protest! Rally together and tell the government that we do not want this to continue! Stop offshore drilling! Give us alternatives! The people must begin caring for the wellbeing of others and stop being part of the problem. Stopping and shopping at BP is acknowledgement that they committed crimes against humanity, wildlife protection acts, and water pollution acts and supporting them regardless. Supporting BP through this disaster is equivalent to helping a person bomb 11 people, poison countless animals, destroy the homes of an entire generation of people, and force thousands of civilians out of work. Please boycott BP. Please petition Congress for the end to offshore drilling. The planet depends on you.