“There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all.”
I love to drive. My Father taught me how to drive when I was 12 years old. I have a clear memory of his smiling face as I s-l-o-w-l-y drove down a country road. I can remember the searing heat of July in Price, Utah. There were no jarring stops or wild accelerations. Just his soothing voice telling me not to worry about 'gauges just feel the car and watch the road'. It was such a long time ago ~ 50 years has elbowed its way between me and that sultry day. Time has claimed the moment and death my Dad. So much has changed. We had no idea that we were contributing to pollution.
“Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.”
Business Week, 18 June 1990
Driving these days is a guilty pleasure. As I watch the Gulf turned into a cesspool of muddy oil I too find myself pondering thoughts of carbon reduction. A new car is out of the question. The current car is still owned by the Bank. I live quite a distance from my office but ironically I am rarely there as I am always on the road, traveling to one or the other of the Care Centers. The one nearest to my home is 20 miles to the south, with one another 18 or so miles south of that and the furtherest is 56 miles to the north. Obviously this is not a carbon reducing trek. My buildings are not very electronically up-to-date. I can't review medical records from the comfort of my little home office. We can't Skype meetings. Anyway, all those activities require electricity so it is likely a carbon wash so to speak.
“It wasn't the Exxon Valdez captain's driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill. It was yours.”
25 February 1990
I plan to move off this Island. Closer to the main office and the Care Centers to the south. The thought of packing is repulsive but not as repulsive as thoughts of sea creatures drowning in oil. While on my cruise (yet another carbon expensive trek) I listened to a naturalist discuss the oil spill in Alaska. He said he was still haunted by by the sound of hundreds of confused and frightened sea otters when they began to freeze to death as the crude robbed them of their ability to withstand the icy water temperatures. He and his fellow volunteers listened to them scream as they died. They did not know that otters sounded like humans when they screamed. Who knows what screams, loudly or quietly, are echoing in the Gulf? Soon more and more humans will join in the screaming as animals, plants and shore line are increasingly destroyed. This man-made leak stains all that we use to know. I, like so many others, send donations to various groups struggling to save what has been damaged. I work at reorganizing my life. I make lists of all that is petroleum based and weigh alternatives. Time for me to move back into an urban area ~ and I can't begin to express to you how sad that makes me feel...living the escaptist fantasy has been glorious! How I love the peace, space and safety of this Island. But, to be honest, I love not contributing to pollution even more. Living in a city seems an odd way to accomplish this but ... ~ it makes dependence on a car less of an issue.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
~Native American Proverb
It's time to change. We've already left a monsterous finacial debt for our grandchildren and their children. Shall we also leave them a “scorched earth”? Time to drive "s-l-o-w-l-y down the road" in a new and healthier way.