Monday, June 14

indulge me...

I'm still caught up in the oil spill swirl.

And when I got an email from Bloggers Unite requesting that bloggers write about the gulf situation, I figured I'd join in and try to pull together something that would help me to feel better, and in turn, hopefully empower others as well. There are some things we can do.

It's hard to know how to help or feel hopeful when I feel like one small inconsequential cog in the vast machine that keeps this country rolling. However, by living in the United States we are fortunate enough to actually be a part of that machine, no matter how small, and we have the right to speak our beliefs, take stands publicly, and persuade the leaders that we vote for as to how we want our vote to matter.

That said, what can be done?

Right now we are in crisis mode. We can't undo what's been done.

If you are able to do hands on work and would like to volunteer this article at is a full resource guide to groups that are on the ground right now, doing the work - from the National Audubon Society to The Seirra Club as well as a number of local organizations that provide training for the different clean up needs of the specific region. You may search for opportunities or register with specific states here.

If you can't do the hands on thing, and can afford it, there is always the donation route. Either of the above two organizations are good ones. Another I support is Save Our Gulf, a part of the Waterkeepers Alliance, which allows you to find specific regions to help.

But how do we avoid future disasters that cause vast destruction of life in all it's forms - human, animal, land and water? and how did this happen in the first place? Wouldn't you think we'd have precautions in place? you'd think...

My outrage comes from knowing that this never should have happened. The safeguards that we do have in place to protect endangered species, failed us. (read this NY Times article excerpted below)
Under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Minerals Management Service is required to get permits to allow drilling where it might harm endangered species or marine mammals....
(however, regarding permits needed)... ''The agency seems to think its mission is to help the oil industry evade environmental laws.''

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is partly responsible for protecting endangered species and marine mammals. It has said on repeated occasions that drilling in the gulf affects these animals, but the minerals agency since January 2009 has approved at least three huge lease sales, 103 seismic blasting projects and 346 drilling plans. Agency records also show that permission for those projects and plans was granted without getting the permits required under federal law.

I've learned that the agency has conflicting interests - not only is it responsible for regulating safety in off shore drilling, but it is also in charge of leasing tracts and collecting royalties that they produce on the outer continental shelf. It turns out the the MMS is second only to the IRS in generating revenue collected by our Treasury. That is a problem, no? So, how about flooding your Senator's offices with calls demanding that the MMS be help accountable for allowing unpermitted drilling to ever begin as well as demanding that their role be non-conflicted - collecting moneys OR regulating offshore drilling, but certainly not both.

To find your Senator and their contact information click HERE.
Demand that our government agencies and have integrity.
And while you're at it, how about letting them know that we are way too lax on demanding the safest, most reliable equipment available for our drilling. Brazil and many other countries require sonar activated shutoff valves in their oil wells, but people like Dick Cheney blocked that requirement - a little perk via Halliburton, which could have possibly made this whole event avoidable.
There is no doubt in my mind that our past administrations have helped to create the lax environment that led to this disaster, but it is also very clear, that this particular catastrophe is all BP. It gets no clearer then this, from CBS's 60 Minutes...

I am grateful to Mike Williams, for sharing his story and speaking his truth - such an amazing story of survival.
If nothing else, let's make our dollars speak for us...

(click on images for closer view)


  1. Wow--probably the most stunning artwork in response to the oil spill I've seen...

    There's no question BP needs to pay and new regulations need to be made and enforced (and people like Dick Cheney need to be kept out of office. But, it should not be forgotten, something needs to be done about a society that demands and wastes so much fossil fuel for practically everything we do. As Mick Jagger sang "after all, after all it was you and me...'

  2. I absolutely agree Dr Jay - our demand (as in the U.S.) is above and beyond all others on this planet. I'll have to create a post just for that! It's nearly impossible to not contribute - try as we might. While I drive a hybrid, buy locally as much as possible, change light bulbs to efficient versions, etc, I still use a/c, run my computer non stop, and live completely ON the grid, creating the demand for what I long to be freed from. I wish dramatic, widespread changes could be made quickly - alternatives must be created... sigh.

  3. somehow I would like to see all the comments we who blog have put up gathered in one file and sent to our various representatives! you wonder if they really care about what their constituants think or is it just all about "them"? great job, karin. And great pictures too!

  4. This is an amazing and powerful post, my friend. Empowering ourselves in whatever ways we can and keeping that hope is all we can do in the face of this storm. Brava to you for turning to your powerful art and words to do that.
    Big Love to You, Beautiful One.

  5. Powerful and beautiful, Karin - thank you.

  6. great post Karin, as always you have turned tragedy into beauty with your work. good things will come out of all of this, though it is hard to see it now... xx's

  7. a beautiful and poignant image and thoughtful post!

  8. very impressive post, strong with words and images

  9. stunning. awesome. fabulous art and post.

    "should not be forgotten, something needs to be done about a society that demands and wastes so much fossil fuel for practically everything we do"

    while I agree with that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem -- and as someone who grew up in the '60s I did more than my fair share of demonstrating against the powers that be -- I also am a long-time environmentalist, going back to the first Earth Day in 1970. I was green before it became trendy.

    So I get very weary of people telling me that I need to do my part because I've been doing it longer than many who tell me it's our problem have been on this Earth.

    The biggest procurer of oil in his country is the Dept. of Defense. The government. Not me. or you.

    The US has been at war with one country or another for most of my life which is over 50 years. That realization is shocking. --

    read this NY Times article and if you really think the US will EVER get out of this lost war on terror, I have a bridge to sell you.

    So until this government, which has had the technology do so for many years, gives us alternatives to our dependence, I will no longer accept any part of the blame for this eco-crisis.

    I did not let BP slide on the safety valve that could have stopped this. The safety valve that EVERY OTHER COUNTRY REQUIRES for drilling in their oceans.

    I've done my part for years.

    Have you?

  10. basic greed ... homogenizing responsibility certainly misses the mark- Petroleum is in everything we use, damned if we little people are responsible for that which is trillions of dollars of oil profit for those in high places - using mentholatum, plastics, driving a car short trips, silly to bear the burden...The scariest thing about the videos is the Atlantis thing. instead of us blowing up with atomic bombs- humans will end it all because of greed. It is what it is. Humans may need to be shaken off of this planet for a good long time - perhaps going the way of the dinosaur, irony not missed...It really is "interesting" to live during these times- on the cusp of apocolyptic challenges for life on this planet.Until there is a major shift in conciousness and spirit humans will be destructive, greedy, only a few glow their way through- you are one! Love you!

  11. hi lyle, well, that's why I like Bloggers Uniteso much, because all of our comments are pulled together and focused on one target topic, but I hear you. Politicians don't seem to hear their constituents nearly as well as they do big business - I can't help think if we were more organized and came out in bigger more cohesive numbers, something might be heard...

    Thank you Kim - sometimes I wonder if it's a false sense of empowerment, but we gotta try, right?! Other wise it's crazy time, spinning wheels and going no where. it's so much better to let it out in some way that at least feels constructive. I'm carrying deep breath with me, my random pick to 'rock my world' thanks to you. much love, k

    you're welcome Delphyne, and thank you too, for your thoughtful and sensitive post...

    yes cat, it is hard to see - and my doubts often run high, but i try to have faith, in mother nature herself... xox

    thank you megan, and valerie. xo

    hi Linda, to answer your question, yes. As a child of the 60's with parents active in anti establishment, anti war, and anti big business, it's always been a way of life for me as well. Often due to simple economic practicality - i never had a license or drove until my 30's, using my feet, bike and public transportation to get around; composting, gardening for veggies - and when we were young, buying inexpensively meant consignment shops or buying American! but now it's all China, so to live frugally often means to support over use of fossil fuels, if unaware... Today I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford organic, locally grown, LED replacement bulbs, hybrid vehicles, etc - but I live in this world, and do feel a part of the responsibility for the resources used. Perhaps it's an overblown sense of responsibility, but it's there! Not for the lack of a safety valve, but for being a part of the American Dream... Thank you for sharing the link.

    Yes, greed is a big factor, isn't it... while I don't think responsibility is equal across the board, to not share in our own small facet is to deny change is necessary in every corner of the world, in every aspect of how we do things, if we truly want our planet to thrive. At least that is what I believe. Sacrifice is necessary - we each are greedy in our own way. I know I am - I like air conditioning, and cannot imagine giving it up. Yes, I have been keeping it warmer, and I rely on fans more than the a/c, but I have not been willing to sacrifice it - yet. an I'm sure i could list many other things... i agree with you, shift in consciousness, and actions, will be the only solution. love you, too.

  12. Hi Karin,

    Thank you for this amazing artwork! Like you, I got the invite from Bloggers United for the Gulf and decided to join up. That is how I discovered your blog. I usually write about LGBT spirituality and art on the Jesus in Love Blog, but today I posted about the Gulf oil tragedy and how to help.

    My post today is:
    Christ-like birds in oil spill: You can help

    I loved your oil-spill art so much that I introduced it to a friend who runs the Art Blog at Episcopal Café. I hope that she contacts you.

    Some of your art might work on my blog in the future, too, such as the images of “faith.” Despite the name, the Jesus in Love Blog welcomes art of all faiths.


  13. Karin,
    You are inspiring. It is a breath of thresh air to see someone so passionate about wildlife and environment. Many don't realise that without these things, we are very poor indeed. I hope that your treatment is going very well and you are recovering nicely.

    Big love and hugs xxJ

  14. I am sick and angry and sad over this huge mess so thanks for all the links that I may channel some of my anger through and do my small part.

  15. Pretty good post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  16. You may feel like "one small inconsequential cog" but as Anita Rodick once said "If you think you're too small to have impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room." Amazing art as usual!

  17. I indulge you and applaud you...sometimes the greatest thing we can do is use our voice...we need to be louder...and then there's this....
    Rush Limbaugh...“It’s natural. It’s as natural as the ocean water is. Well, the turtles may take a hit for a while, but so what?…” and “Sea water is pretty tough stuff… oil has a tough time surviving.”

  18. I too have felt so much despair over this tragedy as well. Each day I pray for them to contain the leak, but it never happens. Your words and collages are very powerful and the links will be helpful to us all. roxanne

  19. Will we ever learn? The death and destruction is much like what I felt on September 11th. Did they know they were in danger of causing this catastrophe ??? i feel a sickness in my stomach that they ignored many warnings. Take care of your fragile are on a healing road back to your new studio space. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  20. Pitching in late, here. :)

    What I don't understand is why oil companies AREN'T investing in alternate forms of energy. More than anyone, they know oil is a finite resource. Even if they're only thinking of their long term survival, surely they want to keep drilling oil for as long as possible?

    In my own country here, I've often wondered why the government hasn't created legislation that requires all new houses and buildings to incorporate solar panels and/or a wind generator, and a grey water system. The more options we have, the less reliant we are on existing options. I doubt that would mean we'd ever *not* use oil, but perhaps we'd use it more sustainably.

    And perhaps that would mean greedy oil companies aren't in such a damn hurry to get the stuff out of Mother Earth. And perhaps there would be more attention paid to safety.

    I don't know. Perhaps I'm just completely unwise in the ways of government, politics and big business.

    But how else do we contribute? I think, by caring and doing our best but also having a voice and demanding other options. Let's hope we don't have to get to a situation like the one depicted in The Road before we start to make the sorts of changes we need to, in order not to kill the planet that sustains us.

  21. Thank you for sharing this information and for the moving imagery in your art. There is no simple solution, and there is blame at all levels. But clearly, BP should have done more, should be doing more. Dragging Hayward before politicians for a televised verbal spanking when there was WORK TO BE DONE was ludicrous, a dog and pony show to make the politicians look good. grrrrr


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