Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heartbroken ...

I was next going to bring you a post here at My New 30 for a beauty regime I recently started implementing, but today my heart is so heavy I can't even begin to express to you in words how heartsick I am - these past few days have left me in a constant state of being on the edges of tears.

The picture above is one taken by a local photographer, Beth Skrmetta. Her family runs shuttle boats to carry residents and tourists out to the beaches of Ship Island, one of our barrier islands, and they among many, many others will be impacted by this oil spill.  That is a sea turtle, one of 10 20 31 {update 5/4} dead turtles found along the beach in Pass Christian, a small town on the west coast of Mississippi. All seven species of sea turtles are listed under the Endangered Species Act. While there was no visual evidence of oil on them, tests will be conducted to determine the actual cause of death.

I am not opposed to off shore drilling - clearly we do need to develop sources of domestic oil to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and our Gulf of Mexico is a rich source of oil. However, I damn well expect companies who drill in our offshore waters to have a strong and relevant emergency plan in place to deal with catastrophic incidents such as this one so that leaks are immediately stopped and contained.

Worse case scenario is that devastating effects on our fishing, shrimping, crabbing and oyster industries will be long felt. We are currently in prime spawning and nesting season for many species of animals, and many others pass through this area when migrating elsewhere.  Our bayous and marshes and inlets will be polluted for years with muck from this spill that cannot be cleaned or removed.  Wildlife will suffer immediately as they become encrusted with the oil, ingest contaminated food sources and fish and attempt to clean themselves, dying as a result of ingesting this poison.  Our tourism industry - just beginning to recover from Hurricane Katina - will be decimated as people will fear coming here.  And the health effects on our people are not even yet known.

I live a block off of the Gulf.  When I opened my door to let the dog out this morning I noticed a strong and recognizable odor.  My daddy worked as a bookkeeper all of my life for an auto wrecking yard, and I knew that smell well.  Think of the smell when you have visited with your mechanic in the auto shop and multiply that many times over. That is the odor that is lingering and permeating the atmosphere today right near the Gulf. I went back out a bit later to tend to my garden, and the smell hits you as soon as you open the door and has gotten stronger by the hour.  My husband poked his head out and said "yep, smells like when I worked out on the rigs."  I thought, yeah, well, it's not supposed to smell like that here, on shore.

The area we live in is surrounded by estuaries and bayous that come off of that Gulf - and a lot of species of animals that depend on these marshy areas.  We are totally vulnerable. 

I wasn't out in the yard 10 minutes before I began to feel nauseated and had to come inside in the air conditioning.   Some of you have read how my leaf burning neighbors have made me sick from the smoke and know that I am already sensitive to environmental influences.  Hours later from just a few minutes outside in my yard, and my lungs feel heavy and painful - like heavy pressure on my chest. I have been coughing, my throat hurts and I still feel naseated. I have a splitting headache. I feel like I can practically taste chemicals.  And, this is only the beginning.

Please, today, and in the days to come, pray for our Gulf Coast states, for our people, for our animals ... for a miracle.  We are a strong and resilient people down here in the south, who have weathered many storms together. With God's help, we will weather this one too.



  1. I'm so sorry this is happening in your area, Mary. Some of my happiest memories are visiting Biloxi and taking the ride out to Ship Island and having the dolphins swim alongside the boat. It's such a beautiful area. I truly hope this catastrophe can be recovered from, and quickly!

  2. Ah, Mary, I am so sorry. We'll continue to pray for the best but steel ourselves to handle the worse. God bless you all. Mary

  3. This kind of thing really upsets me. I can't even watch the videos on tv of the poor birds.

  4. I'll be praying Mary...I don't understand why the company didn't have a plan for such a disaster.

  5. I guess my "no drilling in the Gulf" view won't be too popular. I would like to see the land drilling stepped up instead, and serious efforts to use windpower used. We have only tens of thousands of the big windmills here, and we could easily take millions of them out here, all constantly turning in our endless wind. The Permian Basin is setting on the biggest oil reserve in the world, right here in Texas. I'm setting on it right now.

    What makes me furious is that these oil companies just look at that bottom line as sacred. Of course money must be made, but it is out of whack. Safe drilling should come first. Those poor sea turtles, it just makes me heartsick as well.

  6. Hi Mary,
    I am so sorry about what is happening in your area. The poor unknowing as they have for so long..and man with all this technology and knowhow cannot prevent this devastation to the wildlife and natural resources of your area. We do all need to pray
    for all of us..for what is done to one group, will eventually be done to all groups. It is alwyas about the $$$$$$$$$$

  7. I'm praying for all those on the gulf coast. I'm amazed that the oil company and the company running the rig does not have an emergency plan in place. Why is it taking so long just to seal the hole so that the oil stops pouring into the Gulf?

  8. Thanks y'all! It's horrible to just sit and wait to see what is going to happen.

    Kristen, that's exactly what we all are asking down here!! Those leaks are spewing out 200,000+ gallons of oil a day and all of it is gonna go somewhere. I can't imagine that the deaths of those poor turtles aren't connected. I am hoping that now that the weather has improved they can get out there and contain this better and get it up before it does much more damage.


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