“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come.”
— Terry Tempest Williams
Eyes of the future are weeping now over the horrendous oil leak contaminating our southern coastlines and flowing unchecked. The effects will persist far, far into the future.
Contemplate the three worst human-caused accidents in the past:
A nuclear reactor explosion in the Ukraine was followed by a nuclear meltdown and a terrible fire. In an instant, Chernobyl presented every nuclear nightmare from the previous 50 years and became a byword for nuclear tragedy.
Six million people were exposed to ghastly levels of radioactive contaminates and upwards of 950,000 have died and thousands continue to suffer the effects.
Despite this disaster, nuclear energy industries are gearing up to design and build new nuclear reactors with taxpayer money guarantees. Isn’t this incomprehensible given the experience the disaster gave us?
Exxon Valdez, 1989
The oil tanker Exxon Valdez was loaded with 53 million barrels of crude oil. The ship ran aground and the damaged tanker spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, contaminating the water and hundreds of miles of coastline.
Despite this experience, there is a U.S./corporate push to expand offshore drilling.
Isn’t this incomprehensible to a reasoning mind, given the experience the disaster gave us? Hello?
In Bhopal, India, a Union Carbide tank holding 40 tons of deadly methyl isocynate overheated and released heavier-than-air gas. Thousands were killed instantly and panic erupted as others were choked and temporarily blinded.
To date, the disaster has killed 20,000 people, and another 120,000 still suffer from terrible health problems.
Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, told Congress on Tuesday, “The one thing I have taken away so far is that the ability to get this oil out of the ground has far surpassed our ability to respond to the worst-case scenario.”
Isn’t her statement applicable to most human/corporate efforts “to make energy convenient?” Or, to make threatening the world with nuclear weapons a convenient way to maintain U.S. hegemony?
President Barack Obama is reversing his promise to seek abolition of nuclear weapons and instead is pushing to present the nuclear labs with much more money to “refine” and “refurbish” nuclear weapons with no adequate cleanup plans in place or in the worst case, how to prevent the catastrophic use of them.
Let’s heed Terry Tempest Williams’ poignant words and push for “restraint” and deep care for the Earth and each other; using scientific caution and full human reasoning, every step of the way.
Judith Mohling is a member of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.