Friday, June 25, 2010

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

There is a rumor on the net that betting sites are taking bets on the first creatures in the Gulf of Mexico to go extinct. I don't gamble but were I to place a bet it would be on the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.

The Kemp's Ridley, pictured on a south Padre Beach on the Texas coast,  is the rarest of all sea turtles and one of the two living species of Lepidochelys kempii. The other being the olive Ridley sea turtle, the most abundant.

Kemp's is one of the smallest sea turtles and ranges from the north US seashore to Rancho Nuevo in Mexico. It spends much of the year around the Louisiana coast where BP's oil "spill" is wrecking havoc.

Reports are they are being swept up in the drag oil booms used in clean up and set afire. Environmental groups out in the Gulf of Mexico trying to rescue marine life, turtles included are outraged that BP officials are setting fire to the amassed oil before checking for turtles rounded up with the oil. Ergo the outrage on the net that BP is burning sea turtles.

As the oil "spill" (a term used with leak by BP to minimize the effect on the public of this undersea eruption) spreads along the Florida coast more Kemp's turtles will be endangered and also the Florida Manatee which has had other issues before this.

All the oil coated brown Pelicans are making the news because of their visibility. Once on the threatened list they have made a remarkable recovery but who knows where this destruction of their habitat and food sources will lead. I certainly would not be willing to bet on their survival after this disaster. Would you?

So while we talk about this $20 billion fund that the government of the United States has required BP to set up for aid to those people on the gulf whose way of life and incomes are threatened by BP's negligent rush to get oil and ergo profits, what has been provided for the rescue of the creatures that cannot listen to the news? What a loss it will be to future generations if these creatures vanish. Who pays for that.

I love the brown pelican and I thought I would end this rather sad blog with a picture of one like they should be - free of oil.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My New Dream Machine

Almost 14 years ago I bought my first "Harriet Homeowner" tool - my 12 volt DeWalt battery powered drill. Only I was not your average Harriet Homeowner. I worked as a new construction electrician and did my own remodeling of my newly purchased aging home, and added additions.

Yesterday I finally accepted that it is dying. It was a sad moment. Close to losing a fur kid. This drill and I have been through so very much together: I have built a woodshed and privacy fence, screwed down hardibacker on a 2346 SF floor, replaced doors, dropped it from one roof and countless ladders (one of which was with me), drilled holes and screwed on electric boxes for dozens of posh cabins, and used it for numerous home repairs.

I would like to build a deck soon and have been looking at a new DeWalt. The 18v pictured above. If the 12v lasted 14 years what will I get out of this beauty? I am waiting breathlessly for my income tax refund so I can drive to Lowe's and bring it home to reside beside my DeWalt compound 12 inch miter saw. I am a DeWalt person.

And since we are on the subject of products that please me let me briefly mention Wright's bacon. It is BLT season and only Wright's peppered bacon will do. I always struggle with packaging. Like opening it. And bacon can be one of the worst. And lately I have come to loath the trend toward zip lock packaging on lunch meats and sliced cheese. Anyone found on that actually zips locked after the first use? But Wright has come out with a new resealable package that not only reseals, Shock, but opens easily to begin with. Way to go Wright! And so green because you don't have to put it in yet another plastic bag to keep it fresh between BLT's this summer while I am building that deck with my new DeWalt.

Course that gets us into the IRS slow response time on my refund. But I will save that for another day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dealing with Compassion Fatigue

The term compassion fatigue was one I first heard more than a decade ago. It is a term normally used to define a condition of caregivers who struggle to function in care giving environments that constantly present heart wrenching, emotional challenges. But it is now seen in those of us trying to affecting positive change in society and seeing little positive movement and coming to the realization that our mission, perceived as so vital, is elusive, if not impossible. This painful reality, coupled with first-hand knowledge of society's flagrant disregard for the safety and well being of the feeble and frail and helpless, takes its toll. Eventually, negative attitudes prevail. And what seems like chronic fatigue and indifference sets in. We shut down, turn out.

How many images can you see of oil-coated pelicans dying on a once pristine beach before you just shut some part of your mind off in an effort to save a modicum of your sanity? This shut off point comes earlier if you are dealing with personal issues that require you to care or even just function. We cannot all sit at our computers or in front of the television and cry over the horror.

Organizations dedicated to aid and rescue like the American Red Cross see it in their workers and provide counseling for them. They also try to rotate them so they don't have to show up for every disaster. And they know the third earthquake will get fewer donations of money than the first.

When did you start shutting down? After the Haiti Earthquake? Or the Chilean Earthquake? Or the one in Tibet? (Somewhere along there news began to more finely filter and we didn't get the whole story.) Or the 11 oil workers that died in the initial Deepwater Horizon explosion? Or the first oil killed pelican? I think they are up to over 300 in Louisiana alone.

They discovered after 9/11 that you can get post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from just watching the World Trade Centers collapse hundreds of times. And you can get compassion fatigue from being bombarded by images of situations you want desperately to change but feel helpless to do so. Both of these can trigger old issues you have not dealt with. Awareness is the first step toward relief.

It is especially important to normalize your life as much as possible with exercise and meditation and getting away from the televised and e-mailed  images for just a bit. And doing something! Even if it is just signing a petition or writing your congressman about reforms in off-shore leases and liability limits. (Yes, Virginia, there are legal limits to what BP's liability in this disaster are.) 

Remember accepting the presence of compassion fatigue is validation of the fact that you are a deeply caring individual. We need more of those in our world today to balance all the uncaring SOB's heading companies.