Ways to help heal the Oil Spill
So many of my friends, and myself, included, are hurt to sickness over the Gulf Oil spill tragedy. In fact, “spill” seems such an inadequate word to encompass and accurately describe the terribly wound that has been made to Mother Earth. And if anyone hurt my mother, I would be angry, sad, and feel helpless. So I’m not surprised that I and other feel this way. But I am a writer, a performer, a community gatherer and catalyzer. I am not an oceanologist, a geologist, or an engineer. And I do not have a lot of money. What can I do? Here’s a short list, and I encourage you to add your ideas, in support of healing, of the earth, and of our society.
1. Coaches, counselors, therapists, clergy- offer your services to the Gulf’s human victims. Help them work through the possibility that they will never return to their old life. Help them see the gifts in not being tied to the sea in the same way. Help them mourn what is lost, and to claim what is next. Be present for them while they express their fear, their anguish. Help them to see that weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning- and that morning can come quicker if they have their eyes open for new opportunities, new vistas. Help them articulate and package their skills in new ways, so they are marketable and have dignity as they enter the marketplace. And pray for BP. Help their employees and stockholders find their core of decency and love and help them toss out budgets and timelines and focus on healing and results.
2. Fashionistas, stylists, self-care mavens, and other pretty people- when people look good, they feel good. And when they feel good, they look good. If the Gulf residents and front-line workers have been on boats for generations, they probably could use some help learning about and acquiring clothing appropriate for interviews, press conferences, and speaking engagements. Everyone involved could use a manicure, pedicure, facial, or massage. You could be a part of a revolution that gives folks a language to express themselves in a new way, to a new audience. Unfortunately, the rest of the nation can be shallow, and evaluate people with a voice on the basis of their clothing label, rather than their spirit and message. So all you people who find it effortless or lucrative to look good; go to work. You know what to do.
3. Writers, performers, creative journaling types- heal with words. Go start collecting letters to the sea- prayers, songs. Ask the children for their ideas, for their feelings about this- both here, and in the Gulf. Include the adults too, for good measure. Collect stories, release them in the next town, take them to the sea and read them to mother earth- send them to BP in big crates. Use performance to raise money to help those affected- and send it directly to them with a DVD or book of what you’ve done. Show them that people care about them, and even though we just met them, we have needed them for a long time.
4. Doctors, scientists, researchers, and their funders- you already know what to do. Drop everything non-essential, and get to brainstorming. Offer cash prizes for ideas that work. Go to unexpected places for help- Dr. House is never too proud to ask a “lowly” janitor or nursing student for assistance in a case. Place “weird” ideas next to each other- think about their connections. Do not sleep until this is solved- or engage in radical self care and nurture your brain to new ideas and connections, possible solutions. Try anything that will not make this worse. If it does make it worse anyway, apologize and move forward. Try again. Be like Thomas Edison- try to fail 10,000 times as quickly as possible, so we can get this particular lightbulb made. And funders- just give the money to the smart people and let them hypothesize and test ideas. Gather data for evaluation, if you must, but remember- we won’ be able to evaluate this until it is over. And this is not another program that we can afford to terminate due to lack of funds. Let’s just get it done, please?
5. Government officials- I sigh as I write this, because you are never off the hook. And yet, you are so seldom on the hook, either. Get it together. Grow up, stop infighting, and open your eyes. I don’t care how much money your constituents stand to make from offshore drilling; it is not safe. While we’re talking about it, neither is coal mining, or Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) drilling. We need to stop this oil dependency NOW. Today. If that means we can’t drive all the time, well, fine. Our roads are pieces of outdated crap now, anyway. If that means you lose your seat next election, fine. Isn’t it worth it, to say you were a part of historical healing? And don’t your constituents want this thing handled, apart from the usual envy and petty comparisons we are taught to make, and you perpetuate? We are ONE nation, under God. More importantly, we are ONE planet. That’s all we got. And water knows nothing of nations. We are exporting our poisoned water elsewhere, and that’s not right. Water is already a global endangered resource- we must learn to respect it. Because that is one resource we have no way to replicate or duplicate. And all of us need it- from the smallest to the tallest, the richest to the poorest. Water is a requirement to human life, second only to breath. Now ain’t THAT serious? Get it together, politicians and government officials. Cry on camera. Show vulnerability. Ask for help. But please, please, STOP blaming. Just get on with the work.
6. Finally, environmentalists- yes, you were right. Yes, you told us so. But does that make you feel any better? No. So instead of beating people over the head with rhetoric, try modeling the desired behavior, getting out of your ego, and showing us how to do it? If that means consulting door-to-door with every household in America about recycling and composting, then do it. If that means understanding a dollar and providing many ways and many levels to be involved for all people, then do it. If it means eating a hamburger with a family and making that, slow food, then do it. All I’m saying is this is no time for righteous indignation- we just need righteous action.
In closing, this is a rapidly written rant with the hopes of galvanizing community. I am not one who writes manifestos; I am a shy person who is just incapable of being silent about this. I offer my thoughts, and I welcome yours. I will post all of the extensions of ideas, manifestos, prayers, plans, etc., that are offered in goodwill, to my blog, Don’t Say Sorry (https://tamvanhorn.wordpress.com). If you want to join with me and love our ocean back to health, then send your loving thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love you; I love the United States of America; I love the Gulf fishing industry and residents; I love President Barack Hussein Obama and his team, and I love BP. Now it’s time for us all, to love the water that depends on us, as we depend on it. Let’s go to work.
*Please excuse misspellings, grammar errors, etc. I chose urgency over perfection, for this one. I was moved to write this and distribute this. Please circulate as widely as possible, with or without credit- Tamara Williams, July 4, 2010.