Loving Our Neighbors and the Earth

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12: 31

A federal task force has determined that 172 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico between April and mid-July, when the temporary cap was put on the ruptured well.  This figure comes as BP is coming closer to a final resolution to ensure that the well is sealed.  (Read the Associated Press article.)  The devastation in the Gulf of Mexico is enormous, and a long-term holistic recovery is needed.  Ask your elected officials in Washington to support the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill through the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act

As the clean up and recovery continues in the Gulf of Mexico, another oil spill occurred in the US last week.  On July 26 a leak was reported from an oil pipeline in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Enbridge, the Canadian company that owns the pipeline estimates that 819,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River and a creek that flows into it, while the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the figure at over 1 million gallons.  (See Associated Press article.  Read the Battle Creek Enquirer for more information on this oil spill.)

China is struggling to cleanup from what may have been the country’s largest oil spill, which occurred in July.   BBC News reports that cleanup workers there were working without any protective gear to clean the spill.  The footage on this video shows fisherman working in their underwear, their bodies covered in oil.

Other areas of the world that receive less news coverage on experience devastating oil spills as well.  Nigeria has been dealing with problems related to oil for five decades.  The New York Times reports that up to 546 million gallons of oil has spilled into the Niger over the past fifty years.  This is an ongoing eco-justice disaster.

Am I setting out to depress you with this post?  No, I’m writing to inspire you to personal action.  Write your senator and representatives and ask them to ensure a just and moral response to the oil spill.  But don’t stop there.  Think about tangible ways that you can decrease your reliance on oil and incorporate these into your daily life.  For as long as there is oil production, there will be spills.  As we continue to use oil, we will continue to heat our planet, bringing the effects of climate change to all, but most detrimentally to the most vulnerable of our neighbors.  We are called to till and keep the garden.  We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and to work for the least of these.  Our neighbors live in Louisiana, Michigan, China, Nigeria, and throughout God’s earth.  As we work to decrease our reliance on oil, let us share what we are doing, and why we are doing it with our friends, family, churches, and communities.  Our collective action can make a difference.

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