Pensacola and the entire Gulf of Mexico continue to be affected by BP’s Deep Water Horizon massive oil spill. Millions of wondrous creatures died and will continue to die because of that disaster. (Please read these articles: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_sci_oil_spill_lingers and http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_markets_oil.)
As part of EcoTrek’s Best of America Tour, I wanted to physically help clean up a beach in the Gulf Coast and try to bring attention to the fact that BP’s mess could have been avoided altogether if Americans committed themselves to organic renewable fuels.
While the beaches in Pensacola are remarkably beautiful, there are still some minor visible flaws. Unfortunately, as I prepared to pick up some of these flaws – tar balls near the water – I was curtly stopped by BP contractors. They said that I wasn’t “HAZMAT approved” for such labor. So, defiantly, yet happily, I spent several days just walking on the beach picking up petroleum-based plastic bottles, bags and beverage holders – all of which could be made from organic, biodegradable materials.
Thus, as one priority of my visit here was being handled, it was time to address another priority – paying respect to America’s Armed Forces.
This Western Florida community hosts Naval Air Station, Pensacola – home of the Navy Blue Angels, National Naval Aviation Museum, several historic military buildings and thousands of patriots who have dedicated their lives to protecting our amazing nation.
Visiting this location, and writing about it, reconnected me to my past as a “Navy Brat.” But, as I walked through the museum and historic sites, my patriotism grew, and I was reminded of the many sacrifices my family endured as part of military life. My father was gone for months at a time, which brought many difficulties. These same challenges and sacrifices are now being endured by thousands of military families, like those at NAS Pensacola. Personally, I’d like to do something to help these families.
So, while my dream of becoming a Navy Pilot didn’t work out, I can still serve my country, members of our Armed Forces and, equally important, their families by working hard to end our addiction to foreign oil. Don’t kid yourself. Foreign oil comes at a high cost of military resources, including young lives. If we all committed to American-made renewable fuels, we could keep our energy dollars, and more of our service men and women, home to protect this country and support their families.
Wow. That said, I feel the need to start heading home myself to see my family. I think I’ll also call my father who served our country for 40 years. (Thanks Dad. I have some big shoes to fill.)