Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fault. Double Fault

In tennis, if you serve the ball over the net and it goes out, it's called a "fault". Then you get a second chance, a second serve to try to get the ball in play.

If that second serve also goes out, the umpire will again call "Fault!". Then he or she will announce the consequences: double fault. Your opponent wins the point.

God made this stuff in the first picture.

We make the stuff in the second picture. A lot of it is floating in the Pacific and every other body of water on this earth. A whole lot more of it is clogging landfills and streams.

We live next door to the athletic field of a middle school. Girls' softball teams practice and have games and tournaments here each spring and summer. It's always fun to see the kids and their parents doing something active--especially as they brave seemingly interminable rain.

But they leave behind mountains of trash. Some boys tipped over the trash barrel and flaked out when I asked them to pick it up. So I rescued what could easily be recycled: the can and bottles. Plastic. I won't show you the other stuff the players leave behind.

Now, it baffles me why so much of what people today drink must come as a manufactured product in a single-use container. These girls couldn't possibly be working up a sweat in their games. No way on this green earth they need Gatorade or other sports drinks to, for the most part, stand there and wait for the hit or the runner. Why couldn't they drink plain water from home in a re-usable container? How did our species survive for millennia?????

But these young ball players only mimic what the see around them writ large in consumer, throw-away society. They can't get their exercise in neighborhood ball games before and after school. Neighborhoods and kids aren't like that anymore. Gallons of fuel are consumed driving them to and from their practices and games. Gallons more fuel in the beverages and fast food they consume while doing so.

Almost never do they take their recyclable containers home with them. Probably 'cause the trash containers at home are as overflowing as the one at the ball diamond that no one seems to think they have a responsbility to empty--leave alone to not fill in the first place!

So who's at fault for the oil "spill" in the Gulf of Mexico? BP? Halliburton? The owners of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that blew up? Yes, they all are.

But so are all of us. It's our fault in the first place. If we consumed less, we wouldn't need to drill for oil in 5k feet of water. If we didn't throw away so much stuff and so many opportunities to do right by God's creation, we wouldn't be killing it to death as we are.

Everybody's sickened by the video from the underwater cameras and what the damage is on shore. For once, we can see the disastrous stuff as it escapes into the sea.

Just think what it might do if we could see greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere the way we can see crude oil spewing out of the broken pipe. We look at the video from the underwater camera and ask, "Why wasn't everyone involved more cautious? Why didn't they plan for what might go wrong?"


Ask the same questions about what we are doing 24/7/365 to earth's atmosphere, the soil and all the ecosystems on this planet. Would it make a difference if we could actually see what we are doing?

How do we see while simultaneously refusing to do so?

Fault. Double fault.


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