As suggested in Robert Ariail’s cartoon of oil-drenched coastal birds and an oil-drenched goose that lays the golden egg of tourism, folks around the state are beginning to realize that it simply does not make sense to risk the bedrock of the state’s economy in search of oil. Drill, and there will be a spill.
Years ago I worked for a congressman whose committee was charged with cleaning up after the Exxon Valdez spill. I will never forget the cause as listed in the after-action report: human error.
Technology improves. Humans will always make mistakes.
Besides human error, the other major cause of oil spills is weather. One result of the awful tragedy in Texas will be the long-term impact of those spills. When Matthew hit last year, what if there had been oil rigs off the S.C. coast and oil production facilities on land? People are beginning to make connections.
Where the connection is yet to be made is theological. Many of us confess in worship that we believe in God, the maker of heaven and earth. Do we really believe that? If so, how are we honoring God when we do seismic testing that will, according to the federal government, kill or disrupt 138,000 sea mammals?
There are only about 500 right whales left. Their migration path is off the coast. Will we preside over the death of a species? How do we honor God when we pursue fossil fuel? The greenhouse gases we humans produce have taken the creation out of balance. The oceans heat, leading to changing weather patterns that in turn lead to drought and storms. And the victims are often the most vulnerable.
We are called to protect and celebrate God’s creation. It is ironic that we are discovering that elements of God’s good creation — sun, wind, tides — will, in the long run, produce the energy we need.
Rev. Jim Watkins