Hungry for Oil
My dear Children, I am sad today as I write to you. I usually want to share happy stories, but I think it very important that I share this sad one too. You are my only hope that will put an end to such a man made crisis.
Yes, those of you who watch the news must have guessed right away what I am talking about- the terrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the largest man-made wars ever made on Mother Nature. I know, you have been told that it was an accident, but tell me my dear children, what causes these accidents if not an utter disregard for nature and the unending greed of human beings?
It is quite personal to me because I have a very strong connection with that land and water. Each of the past ten years my family and I have been camping at many of the beautiful state parks on the Gulf of Mexico for our vacations. I believe camping is the best way to enjoy a beautiful landscape without damaging it and while sharing it with many other people. You don’t actually own the small piece of land you pitch your tent on, and you don’t construct on it but you do leave it for the next camper when you depart just as if you owned every grain of sand in the camp site. However long or short a time you stay at the camp, you develop an appreciation for nature and realize how very little we really need to live simply and happily. Although, there are very few natural habitats left along the Gulf Coast, the ones that remain are breathtakingly beautiful. You see children, people who want the biggest and the best for themselves have destroyed most of that beautiful coast. Natural sand dunes with flowing sea oats, marsh lands and pine forests that once sheltered millions of birds, black bear, deer, sea turtles, and other beautiful life have been destroyed to make room for huge vacation homes, many of which stay empty most of the time.
Thanks to those few people who believe in conservation, there remain a number of undeveloped state and national sea shore parks. These parks have preserved the natural beauty of the land and waters and present an environment where nature lovers can go to camp and share the natural beauty with others without staking a claim to it or threatening our wildlife friends.
The Gulf of Mexico has white sugary sand beaches and the water is emerald green in color. It is always of the perfect temperature for swimming. We love to watch the pelicans dive into the water, watch the plovers tease us as we take our long walks, and see the dolphins flip and splash in the water. Swimming with a school of fish and spotting an occasional sea turtle is a real treat. Gorgeous sunsets on the beach give you a sense of calm and gratefulness.
In the night the moist sand glitters and the waves shimmer in the moonlight. Star gazing on distant beaches far away from city lights is absolutely amazing and is something that I want to show to each one of you some day.
On this Earth day April 22nd just as we had returned from yet another one of our wonderful Gulf coast camping trips and as I was planning to write to you about it, I heard news of the potentially largest eco-disaster to ever occur in the Gulf.
An oil rig that extracts oil from the earth and whose machinery rests on the ocean floor experienced a huge explosion resulting in a number of human deaths and causing one of the worst oil spills in the region’s history.
As I write to you, millions of gallons of oil have leaked from the well and are spreading across the Gulf waters, reaching close to the shores of the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Millions of birds and marine life are at risk of suffocating in the oil and their food sources have been contaminated. Scientists fear for the destruction of many endangered species such as the blue fin tuna and sea turtles.
As I write to you today, the 14th day of the spill, the oil company responsible for this disaster has not yet figured out how to contain the gushing oil from the damaged well that continues to pollute the ocean waters, kill marine life, and threaten the region’s natural balance between humanity, wildlife, coastal marshlands, and especially the Gulf itself.
Why, of course you ask? The answer is simple. We humans have shown time and time again how well we seem to be able to destroy, better than how to protect or create.
We only think of wanting more for ourselves without giving any regard to what it does to others or our beautiful Mother Earth.
We want more and more oil from the Earth of which she has only a limited quantity. We want more oil based products and services – cheaper. More plastic toys & gadgets, more gas to heat our huge homes and power our luxury cars. We want to fly everywhere even when the need does not justify the effect. We want disposable products that make our lives easier and exotic foods that must be transported thousands of miles before they reach our tables.
All without stopping to realize that this wanting creates the demand for extracting ever larger quantities of oil from under the Earth’s surface. Oil has been a root cause of major wars, poverty, and reckless environmental destruction around the globe, and now again today, we see how the beauty and fragile eco-system of the Gulf of Mexico is being so terribly threatened.
Why am I telling you about it?
For two reasons:
Each individual action you take has consequences. If you reflect a bit before making a choice on simple things, you can have a big impact on the environment. For example, do you know that plastic water bottles are made from oil? If you choose to take your reusable bottle filled with clean tap water everywhere you go, you can save up to 5 plastic bottles in a single day.
You are in the forming years of what you want to be when you grow up, and who you become. You can choose your education field and mold your interests in such a way that you create a positive impact on the environment. If you reflect on the question of what your purpose in life on this earth is, you will find the answer to that question.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji guides us in so many ways and shows us how our individual actions affect the environment and how that greed takes us away from purity – purity of body, mind and the environment.
Let us pause and reflect at this grave disaster and how each one of us has a role to play in it.
On Ang, 877, Guru Nanak Dev Ji says:
So my dear children, live your life consciously. Consider this beautiful gift of nature we have been given– the earth, her water, her plants and animals and do everything you possibly can to preserve her wonderful purity. Reflect on every choice you make and ask yourself: Am I honoring or destroying these precious gifts by the everyday choices I make, whether big or small?
With much love and hope,
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