I want to share the things that I find interesting using a personal sustainability lens in this column, but I am having a hard time getting creative while the oil spill is raging inexorably onward. It doesn’t feel right to have an upbeat attitude about making personal changes that can have a huge impact on the world-at-large and sharing my personal experience with that stuff. The disaster is overwhelming.
I really don’t think that they are going to be able to stop the oil from spewing into our coastline any time soon. I certainly hope that I am wrong, for everyone’s sake, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.
I do have some personal insight into working through untenably awful situations. When there is a disaster like this, whether it’s in your personal life, or in your community, there are really only a few options. You can pretend it’s not happening. You can admit it’s happening, but not really do anything about it – because it’s someone else’s fault/problem. Or, you can acknowledge it, and try and learn from it.
I will be trying to do the latter. This makes it even more important that I am successful in trying to change the way people do business – which is my personal goal. I also want to be a part of teams that do some good for the world. I am hoping that this disaster can be a galvanizing event – and that people finally use this as a driver for positive change. People learn their lessons differently – some people see the light, some people feel the heat. We are smack dab in the middle of an epic feel the heat moment.
I do not believe the Gulf Coast will ever be the same. The way I see it, this will leave a lasting legacy either way. If we are able to achieve some momentum and really change our energy-using habits at the scale that we must to in order to stop depleting our ever-shrinking natural resources it will be a legacy of change. It will be awful. It will be something that we all regret. But it will also be symbolic of a turning point in our history. If we do not get this momentum, this will also be symbolic of a turning point in our history – but it will be more of a tipping point than a turning point. The definition of tipping point is the level at which change becomes unstoppable. If we destroy the Gulf Coast, and do not make changes in the way that we view our land and our oceans, we will continue to have more and more events like this until we face truly depressing global change.
Either way, the magnitude of this event will shape the way our lives are lived in the coming decade.
What do you think? Will this be a driver of change? Just another bump in the status-quo road?