As the oil spill continues in the Gulf of Mexico, I feel a bit stuck. I cannot remember such an ongoing environmental disaster. And what can I do? As much as I'd like to grab a bottle of Dawn off of my kitchen counter, head down to Louisiana, and start cleaning up birds, I know that this is best left to groups that have experience in this field.
Though I want to make an action, a real, tangible action that can help quell the oil spill, I will instead take this opportunity to reexamine ways to simplify my lifestyle: ways that I can use less gas, less natural resources, and do less harm to God's earth.
If you are feeling paralyzed about the oil spill as I am, pledge to examine your consumption and make a change this week (think of transportation, where your food comes from, what your food is packaged in….). It won't stop the oil spill, but we can work together to create less of a need for drilling in the future.
Whenever I write items like this, I fear that I will be called a Pollyanna. And I see a tinge of that in this – "200,000 gallons of oil are going into the Gulf of Mexico per day and this woman wants me to cut out a couple of gallons of gas from my weekly commute?" But, we are called to be stewards of this earth, and even the smallest thing contributes to this. And as more of us contemplate the difference between a life full of things and an "abundant" life (John 10:10), the more of a difference we can make.
As we examine our lives and use of resources, let us also keep all of creation - human and non-human – in and around the Gulf of Mexico in our prayers. Sojourners has posted a moving prayer surrounding the oil spill.