There are times when what I need to say wells up inside of me and demands an outlet. This blog has been my place to shout those things to the universe, to give voice to my frustrations and fears, to expel the words within and give them a life of their own.
That hasn’t been the case for some time now. I’ve been focusing on solutions instead of problems, averting my eyes from the rising tide of destruction that is threatening to engulf our beautiful planet. I’ve been busy trying to create a refuge, always aware that the flood waters were coming but feeling powerless to stop them. Yet here I am, at 4:30 in the morning, once again with the words that need to be said threatening to drown me.
Night before last, we watched the documentary “The Last Mountain.” It is the story of mountain top removal and the devastating effect it is having on the Appalachians. It is impossible to watch and not get angry. Really angry. So angry that I don’t know how to begin to express that anger. There is the destruction of the mountains themselves and the utter stupidity and willfully blind ignorance of people who think that piling up the rubble after the coal has been extracted is ‘putting the mountain back when we’re through.’ Just to look at the stream beds they have created -- channels of rock that go STRAIGHT DOWN THE MOUNTAIN RUBBLE -- makes me wonder if they never once stepped out into nature and observed the real world. And the gravel pile they call top soil -- have they never stuck a shovel in the dirt and planted anything -- anything at all? How could they hope to replace the complex harmonies of a living mountain with something that has been blasted apart? Even a toddler who can recite “Humpty Dumpty” knows better than that.
Besides the destruction of the mountain and all its living inhabitants, besides the pollution of the water shed that affects a densely populated swath of the southeast, besides the disruption of the lives of those people who have lived on the mountain for generations, there are human deaths. Six people in a one block area died of brain cancer after breathing the blast dust over a period of time. Two of them were small children. People are dying and no one cares. Environmental protection laws are being broken by the tens of thousands, and no one cares. The coal miners are being lied to, and no one cares. Well, not no one -- but certainly not those in authority. And those who do protest are being dragged, literally dragged, off to jail. It sickened me to see how a 90-year-old woman in a wheel chair was manhandled by police who cared so little that even the presence of cameras did nothing to temper their obvious contempt.
If terrorists did to us what we do to ourselves on a daily basis, the public outcry would ring from sea to shining sea.
So, that was night before last. Last night, my husband tuned into “Cool Pools” on HGTV. If you ever wondered how the obscenely rich spend their mega millions, you can get a glimpse on HGTV. It wasn’t just the contrast between some of the richest people in America with some of the poorest from the night before, although that was an element. It wasn’t just the knowledge that the gap between the rich and the poor has been widening, although that was an element. It wasn’t just that the laws in America are increasingly favoring the rich and powerful over the poor and destitute, although that was an element. It was the invisible cost of it all -- it was all the water and all the energy it takes to power their artificial waterfalls, their light displays, their heated, multi-layered pools, their water slides. It was the fact that mountains are being destroyed and people are dying so that they can live the way they do. That is the real cost of their cool pools.
And then, to cap it all off, I read this news bit quoting Steven Hawking, “The 71-year-old Hawking said he did not think humans would survive another 1,000 years ‘without escaping beyond our fragile planet. . . Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.’”
Really, Steven? Really? Assuming the impossible -- that we somehow scrape together enough resources from our resource depleted world, that we, who have never sent a man beyond our own moon find a way to send billions of people far out beyond our solar system, assuming all that, tell me please, where, in all of the known universe, could we ever find another planet as beautiful as this?
The stupidity galls me.