Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ecuador, Chevron, and your atrocity of the week…

Actually, this is been going on far longer than one week.

In writing this new book, my goal is to set the record on humanity’s disregard for each other, for the planet, for themselves. It’s easy to say “Look at Prince William Sound”, “Look at Chernobyl”, or “Look at global warming” and conclude that apparency of such a claim is undeniable. The book asks, “Is man truly capable of love”, and the answer would appear to be “No”.

But that’s not enough.

It’s too easy to say that the Exxon Valdez was just an accident or that Chernobyl was the result of a corrupt, Communist regime, or that global warming happened because it took us too long to realize what we were doing wrong. It’s too easy to make excuses for something we had no part of or didn’t do.

I needed something more.

And God damn me, I found it.

It had been there all along. I’d seen signs about oil and the Amazon for the last few months but I just thought it referred to global warming, something I was already trying to help improve. (That is, I was trying to help stop it… not make it warmer…) Then, on Live Earth, I heard about Sting’s wife and the work she was doing to help the tribes of Ecuador. (By the way, how much must that suck, to go through life being known as “Sting’s wife”?) But all of this was steering me in one direction – when you focus your attention to one thing, it’s bound to happen. My attention has been focused on the environment and on the peace movement, on human rights, so I was not surprised to find this…

Sadly, I wasn’t surprised by the discovery or what I’d discovered.

From 1964 to 1992, Chevron Texaco dumped 18.5 million gallons of toxic waste in Ecuador. That’s 4 million gallons each day, 30 times more crude than in the Exxon Valdez disaster. Chevron Texaco violated Ecuadorian law, United States law, and basic, human decency. For nearly 30 years, for most of my life, this went on and I did nothing to stop it. I couldn’t. Nobody ever told me about it. As entire tribes of natives were wiped out by disease and genetic malformation, I was ignorant, buying gas, driving my car.

And so it was with most of you. But there’s no way you can claim innocence in this because, odds are, you used the oil, too. You drove your car. Thousands upon thousands of innocent children have died as a result and the atrocity continues to this day. Chevron Texaco claims they don’t need to clean up the billions of gallons of toxic waste that have killed people, children, animals, rivers, and the Ecuadorian land itself. They consider themselves innocent.

Look at this website. Learn for yourself.

This is what we do. This is what humanity is. You say you love your children? How could you when you allow innocent children to die, when you allow your own children’s planet to be so horribly violated? You say you love your family? How could you when you allow innocent families to die, when you allow your family to drive on the blood of innocents? You say you love your nation? How could you when you allow your nation to ignore such incredible crimes? You say you love yourself…. But do you? How could you?

Now, of course, my problem is in finding an ending to this book that doesn’t make the justified, rational, and necessary call for our own extinction? How do I end this book with a message of hope?

I don’t know.

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