Abrasive ash from the Icelandic volcano is still closing airports in Europe. They will eventually reopen, but the extent of the damage to climate and health is yet to be known.
And in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi, at least 24 people have been killed by massive flooding, which also sent close to 1,000 people to shelters and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.
Wind and water do what they will, no matter if we humans will otherwise. But the worst disaster of recent days is directly attributable to our will – our will for oil.
Newsweek’s headline said it well: “SPILL, BABY, SPILL.” The reference to the election-season mantra of “Drill, baby, drill” is intentional, of course, and points up the simple-mindedness – and just plain mishegoss – of that “solution” to America’s energy needs.
The BP explosion in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in an oil slick endangering innumerable forms of sea life and a spill of thousands of gallons of oil – “conceivably as much as 60,000 barrels a day,” according to The New York Times. Calling this a cataclysm of epic proportions would not be wrong.
On April 9, this newspaper published a survey of environmental leaders about President Obama’s earlier announcement that he planned to allow drilling for oil off the Atlantic Coast. One of them, Rabbi Lawrence Troster, presciently said that oil is “not good from square one. They can’t guarantee there aren’t going to be oil spills and other things that won’t devastate the shore.”
And New Jersey members of Congress weighed in against the idea. As Sen. Frank Lautenberg put it, “Giving Big Oil more access to our nation’s waters is really a Kill, Baby, Kill policy: It threatens to kill jobs, kill marine life, and kill coastal economies that generate billions of dollars. Offshore drilling isn’t the solution to our energy problems.”
At any rate, UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey suggests that anyone who wants to support flood relief efforts in eastern Tennessee send contributions directly to the Jewish Federation of Nashville & Middle Tennessee. The address is http://bit.ly/TennFlood.
And Jewish Funds for Justice is collecting donations for communities affected by the oil spill. For more information, go to http://bit.ly/9UfGSU.