Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lemon Aid for the Gulf

When Jake was little, we spent many summers at a beach where the sand went for miles. Combing for shells was a regular activity, and if we were brave we'd walk to where the water met the shore, don a wetsuit and some fins, and possibly see if we could see a big fish or crab. In the distance, cruise ships bound for Alaska would make their way by.

Jake learned the names of the ocean animals before he learned his farm animals. Having scuba divers for parents meant that he learned all about every shore creature and his room was full of books and ocean animals stuffies by the time he was three.

He also learned that not everyone has the same love of the ocean and it's creatures.

"MOOOM! Andrew is pulling hermit crabs out of their shells! He can't do that! They will DIE!" I'd hear his wail from across the sand in protest.

His little sand covered feet were soon at my chair where I sat, reading a book. On our beach, hermit crabs were everywhere. Just turn over a piece of driftwood or rock, and scores would be huddled there, waiting for the tide to come back in. Sometimes I let Jake catch them if he was gentle, and keep them in a bucket for a bit. Or at the very least, hold them in his hands and wait until they popped their heads out, so he could see them.

Never was he allowed to rip the poor creatures from their shells and hurt them.

"Did you ask him to stop?"

Jake would nod furiously, his brow furrowed.

"Did you tell him that it hurts the crabs and they will die?"

"Yes, but he doesn't care! They are only crabs, he says. I told him they were living creatures, and he has to respect nature and take care of it, but he says there are so many...." Jake's eyes would be full of tears and he'd gulp for air to keep from crying.

My poor baby has really taken all our lessons of respect for nature and her animals to heart. How do I tell him that I can only do what I can, and if other parents don't care that their children kill the wildlife, there's not much I can do?

It was a quandary that we were often faced with. Parents who allowed their kids to be destructive, and our family trying to say that nature needed to be left alone.

Look with your eyes, leave only footprints, and don't hurt the animals, please.

To this very day, we live on the ocean. I can smell the salt breezes from my kitchen, watch the storms coming, or see the twinkle lights of cruise ships as they pass through the Strait.

When the news broke of the oil spill in the Gulf, I couldn't look. I still can't look. Images of oil slicked wildlife are one thing, but my imagination takes it farther. What about the coral reefs? The turtles? The tiny fish? I remember vividly diving in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and can't for a second even comprehend what must be happening to the wildlife in the Gulf. To think of our ocean filling up with so much oil and the impact that it is having makes me almost physically ill. Last week we saw a grey whale, and it was so unusual that I couldn't help but wonder what other animals will flee the Gulf in search of food and clean water.

I have never seen the Gulf of Mexico, tasted it's salt air or swam in it's waters. I have, however, lived on the Pacific Ocean for most of my adult life and our oceans are one in the same; our OCEANS.

Show some love for the Gulf.

While you are at it, help some young kids who are taking matters into their own hands and raising money to help save Louisiana's Pelicans by selling lemonaid, or LemonAid
T-shirts. Show your support by buying a t-shirt!
Start your own Lemon Aid stand!

We can show some love for the Gulf. Together.

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