April 12, 2016

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Poems to Protest BP & Other Environmental Disasters

How easy it is to get caught up in our own lives. We spent yesterday evening dashing from one kid's music lessons to the other kid's band concert, squeezing pizza and homework in between.

Today, I'm stopping my mom-routine to think about the B.P Oil disaster. Bill Cowee's poem, "She Said to Be Careful of the Thistle," reminded me of the natural and human cost to big industry.

She Said To Be Careful of the Thistle

by Bill Cowee

He looked down at the weed, a strong,
stiff spear of bristled green
crowned brilliant with lavender,
growing unabated at the tailing’s base,
amid the crushed rock souped once
in chemical baths for bright blue copper.
New leachers come again to work the rock
carcasses, shovel the piles apart, crush
larger rock into smaller, heap leach the bones
with sulfuric acids to get the last profit
out of the earth before it is discarded again.
And aerial spraying, sulfuric odor
acrid as on a drive through Hell,
the residents below the last reef of ore
suddenly come with asthma, with nose bleeds,
and the sprayers...shush, shush, shush
as if fighting for breath themselves...or truth.

Read the rest of the poem here

Here's a fact that I found shocking: "At the time Henry Ford and the Duryea brothers were racing to put gasoline-powered cars on the road, electric cars were already in use. The first practical electric car in the United States was introduced in 1835, but it was basically a small locomotive. Advances in batteries over the next 50 years made the car more attractive, and by 1897 electric taxis roamed the streets of New York."

This is from an article, "Green Living," written by my buddy Jennifer Della Zanna.

So -- what happened? How did we go from electric car technology to oil-dependent society? And why not go back to that earlier technology for ideas?


Tabatha said...

Speak it, Laura!

Author Amok said...

They need to stop using the word "spill" and what it is -- a disaster.

Author Amok said...

Heard on NPR yesterday -- BP was all about bottom line, cost-cutting at the expense of safety. I think Cowee's poem is a fitting reminder that industry needs to look at the long-term effects of its actions.

Mary Lee said...

And the ludicrous idea that the entire area can be put back the way it was!!!! Really??? They believe that??? Or is that the story they have to tell themselves so that they can live with themselves...

all things poetry said...

Unfortunately, it seems it always comes down to the money. Greed and profit.

They are now trying to promote a battery operated car called "Tesla" from Tesla Motors. But that is way out of my financial range.

Laura Evans

Author Amok said...

I just heard some NPR commentators saying the BP disaster is going to be a non-issue in the next prez election. What? Why? No!