"O pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these thy butchers…"
Julius Caesar Act III Scene 1.
When I was ten or eleven, I decided I was going to be an Oceanologist. It was one of those passing romantic fantasies kids have. Heck, I was living in Saskatchewan, didn't know how to swim yet and hadn't even visited a body of water where you couldn't see the opposite shore.
But I'd watched a few episodes of "Sea Hunt" and "Flipper" and something about the whole ocean thing appealed to me.
Then I went to the Regina library one afternoon and found an issue of National Geographic featuring an Oceanologist who'd spent 20 years studying the life cycle of the shrimp. No way I was going to spend my life doing something that boring! I went back to waffling between being a cowboy or a fireman.
Once I matured, I regained my respect for people who dedicate their lives to understanding how things invisible to the rest of us function, realizing that often what's below the surface or hidden from public view has a greater impact than the things we can observe for ourselves.
As the "will they cap it or won't they" soap opera has played out in the media coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill, it's become clear to most that we haven't been told the full story.
While there are conspiracy theories aplenty as to what happened on the doomed rig in the days and hours before it exploded, why financial giants like Goldman Sachs sold off their BP holdings right before the accident and how a myriad of government agencies were so slow to react; there's been little discussion on what we can expect once the leak is stopped or how we ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
And when that time comes, we all know that all kinds of competing interests will want to be heard, everybody from ecologists and geologists to pensioners dependant on BP dividends to bureaucrats and political parties hoping to protect their backsides.
So you need to set aside twenty minutes right now to hear from Carl Safina, ecologist, writer and founder of the Blue Ocean Institute.
In Safina's opinion, what we've witnessed in the Gulf has its roots in the same covert and secretive mentalities that were behind the recent economic collapse and the growing cultures of corporate entitlement and government indifference.
This is heady stuff and while you may find some of it difficult, at least sample the anecdote that begins at 07:45. If you have any kind of concern for the other inhabitants of this planet, that alone should galvanize you into doing something.
Enjoy your Sunday.