Last night mom and I watched the Rachel Maddow show and mom was totally impressed. She said that if she were a lesbian, which she is, she’d totally marry Rachel Maddow. I would too, but that’s besides the point. Anyway, Rachel said that the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which has nothing to do with coffee maker Juan Valdez, spilled 11 million barrels of oil 21 years ago, killed more than “35,00 birds, 1,000 sea otters, 150 bald eagles (the symbol of America), 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs.” Plus, there’s an unknown number of animal carcasses that simply sank beneath the surface of the sea, and the effects of the oil spill is still present today. After 21 years. View the full story here.
I felt so sleepy and tired like a dog or cat, so I put my head on mom’s lap, and dreamed that an oil slick coated the Earth and filled my lungs and stopped them from working. I even dreamed that the oil slick entered my womb and invaded the womb of my future children. That’s when I woke up and realized mom was choking me. Amanda B. (the B is for Bernstein and the B is silent) laughed and said she wouldn’t have let mom kill me without a fight. Amanda B. loves me. Then Amanda B. said something so profound I almost peed. She said, “Imagine what Americans would do if the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf killed 35,000 men, women and children, 1,000 puppies, 150 kitty cats, 22 bankers, and damaged the DNA of billions of ovum and sperm.” I have no idea what sperm is but it seems very serious and, in that moment, I realized how disconnected and separate humans imagine they are from the ecosystem. From planet Earth. And live as if humans live on another planet called La La Land.
The night before mom read to me a chapter from Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals. I was like oh Lordy, here goes mom again, trying to be all that and smart too. Before I fell asleep, mom read this section, with tears in her mind:
For me, my scars are an honorable reminder that I may be a casualty in the cosmic war against radiation, animal fat, air pollution, McDonald’s hamburgers and Red Dye No. 2, but the fight is still going on, [Exxon Valdez & BP Oil] and [we are] still a part of it. I refuse to have my scars hidden or trivialized behind lambswool or silicone gel. I refuse to be reduced in my own eyes or in the eyes of others from warrior to mere victim, simply because it might render me a fraction more acceptable or less dangerous to the still complacent, those who believe if you cover up a problem it ceases to exist. –Audre Lorde
In 2008, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-3 ruling, reduced the punitive damages won & awarded to victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill from $2.5 billion to $500 million. Amanda B. asked no one in particular what the award would be if the BP Oil disaster killed 35,000 men, women, children, and puppies. Or simply caused their offspring a little cancer down the road. What is a human worth on planet earth? In outer space? I guess we’ll let the Supreme Court fight that cosmic war for us, again, fo’ sure, just like in Bush vs. Gore.
Right now Republicans are trivializing this disaster and BP Oil is charging ahead with a massive PR campaign. The goal is to make us feel good about ourselves and their stewardship over the environment, so that the deaths of millions of untold fish, sea turtles, whales, birds, animals, and their offspring, are in no way, absolutely no way, connected to us. Humans. Because humans are not animals. Because we are simply no danger to one another.