Sunday, June 06, 2010
Where the sea meets the sky
Deerfield Beach, FL, December 2009
When I first took this picture, I thought it was like any of the hundreds I've taken over the past few years, a quiet perspective of a place I've come to love. This was also my father's favorite beach, a place he spent countless afternoons sitting around with my mom and his friends, solving the world's problems under a time-worn Montreal Expos hat.
So as I stood beside the surf in the fading late afternoon light, I felt a certain sense of peace that I was here, and it felt right to try to remember what it felt like with a simple photo.
Now that BP has filled the Gulf of Mexico with countless millions of barrels of blown out crude oil, I see this picture, and this moment, in a very different light. It's only a matter of time before the Loop Current brings the sad trail of oily destruction around the Florida Keys and into the Atlantic Ocean. This beach and so many others now find themselves under threat from a disaster not of their own making.
I've been tweeting semi-sarcastic messages in recent days, all in an effort to stoke conversation and thought. I've deliberately stoked anti-BP sentiment because, as the central actor in this unmitigated disaster, the company makes such a convenient target. Its bumbling leadership makes it even easier to target the villain.
But I'll leave you with this: Why does BP need to drill for oil in the first place? Are we not partially to blame for pumping up demand for oil - think, carefully, of how petroleum-based products underscore virtually every waking moment of every day for essentially all of us - and is BP only responding to market demand?
I'm not proposing an answer or a position here. I simply want us to think about it before we weigh in.
My father, sitting in his customary spot in the middle of his klatsch of friends, would doubtless have found this enough to stoke a vigorous, all-day discussion.
Your turn: So, is BP the only villain here? Or are we also to blame? Do tell.
One more thing: This photo includes clouds. Because we're doing this. All week. You can, too.