The Common Good

Voices from the Gulf: Our Way of Life, Forever Altered

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Editor's note: This week, God's Politics is launching "Voices From the Gulf" -- a series of posts from people experiencing first-hand the devastating effects of the worst oil spill in American history. Check back often for more stories each week.

Living in Mobile, Alabama during the Gulf oil spill has been like watching death creep up on us. Since the explosion on April 20, the evening news has been consumed with showing us the disaster. Yet as we all watch, we realize there is nothing we can do to stop the spread of the oil. It reminds me of all the hurricanes we have faced over the years. This, however, is different. This is a storm caused by humans.

God put us here in the garden of Eden expecting us to protect and nurture the earth and her animal inhabitants. But we have not done that. We have ignored our mission. Our once beautiful sandy, white beaches are now covered with reddish-brown tar balls. The wildlife of our region are coming on the beach screaming to us for help getting the oil off their bodies. Some aren't that lucky. A way of life will be forever altered for the fishermen who make their living off the waters -- a way of life that may be gone.

We had only really gotten back on our feet from Hurricane Katrina.

Through it all, we are keeping the faith. Keeping the faith that just as after Katrina, this will all work out someway, somehow. It just has to. What can be done to help us? There are many families in Bayou La Batre that will be down to one-income households, if there is any income for the household at all. Many of these families have children that are in need. There must be action taken to make sure they receive the assistance they need to get through this.

We also need help from the government in making sure there is enough boom to protect our beaches as much as we can. Alabama was shorted, and we have not received all the boom we were promised. People could help by contacting their government leaders and helping to ensure we receive the basic needs to lessen the disaster as much as possible. We rely on tourism for a large portion of our state income. We need the people to come!

I think the most important thing that can be done is for people to learn to treat the earth with respect. This oil spill is a tragedy, but an even bigger tragedy will come if people do nothing to make a change.

Amy Andrews lives in Mobile, Alabama.

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