Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oil disaster cloud hanging over splendor


Driving north from the Great Sand Dunes National Park, we stopped at a weathered diner by the side of a lonely road. The waitress who poured our coffee was welcoming and talkative. We agreed that her natural setting was simply stunning. The peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range gleamed in bright sunlight. The air was crisp and clear.

But she wanted us to know she felt confused and conflicted.

"It's hard with that oil spill -- with the oil still pouring out. I don't know how I ought to act.

"I mean, it's so awful; it's just ruining the Gulf. I feel like I shouldn't be happy, shouldn't enjoy the beauty here while that is going on. But it is so beautiful here."

We pretty much agreed we should enjoy the world while we can. But we all share the premonition of horror that the BP oil calamity seems to imply.

And we agreed that we are angry about what we see and feel. But what to do?

Because I'm on the road, I didn't hear the President's speech on that question, but it is hard to imagine our oil-captured political system is capable of measures that would rapidly reduce oil dependence and carbon emissions, as we must. All we can do is try to create pressures that politicians find it hard to ignore.

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