Every day we learn more frightening facts about the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well. Every day there is another untested solution and every day there are reports of it failing. BP admits it has not prepared for such a catastrophe and is using antiquated measures like booms and dispersants that aren’t solving the problem and in the case of dispersants making it worse. Entire communities will soon lose their way of life.
The chill running down my spine is the chill I felt during the first years of the epidemic. We didn’t know what it was and it only got worse. No matter what measures we tried from Louise Hay lectures, to wheat grass juice to something smuggled in from Japan nothing saved a single man’s life and men were dying by increasing multiples. Today it’s the pelicans and other shorebirds that are dying, mired in thick coats of oil. Their pathetic corpses are filling beaches just as our corpses filled living rooms as we remembered our best friend or the truest lover. Our community was in jeopardy of being lost. Just as BP downplayed the significance of the disaster and the federal government relied on BP to solve it the Red Cross and charities refused to acknowledge our community and blood banks refused to test blood once they knew how the disease as being transmitted. Health officials elsewhere dismissed it, and President Reagan never said the word AIDS. Alone, we had to take care of each other and force government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to do the right thing. Once again something we cannot control is overtaking our lives again, and once again I feel helpless.
Today at the gym my trainer said he was tired of seeing all the stories in the news about the oil spill. I said he had the right to be angry not because there are so many stories but because the situation is so dire and it gets worse by the day. Having gone through the epidemic and survived, I know even when the leak is stopped its effects on our wetlands will be as lasting and nasty as the epidemic’s effects on each of us.