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Jun-12-2010 00:48printcomments

Striving Toward Survival

Untapped Strategies Urged to Ease Gulf's Oil Turmoil.

A Filipino fisherman stands ankle deep in oil washed up on the beaches near his home.
A Filipino fisherman stands ankle deep in oil washed up on the beaches near his home. Photo courtesy: Greenpeace

(SALEM, Ore.) - This humongous oil spill spurting forth in the Gulf may well prove to be the No. 1 unnatural disaster of this 21st Century. It accentuates our relative helplessness as humans despite our self-serving claims to being the smartest creatures on Planet Earth. Self-delusion can be costly.

There are steps to be taken within our realm of knowledge and still others that lie beyond.

Rather than getting consumed by the technological hardships of what we cannot accomplish, let's ask the President and his administration to concentrate on what is clearly doable.

I present this checklist for consideration:

  1. HUMAN HEALTH HAZARD: Create a task force led by the US Surgeon General to develop plans for prevention and treatment of those negatively affected by touching oil residue or breathing its fumes. Commission all Gulf Area hospitals and clinics to have on hand ample supplies. Recruit retired doctors, nurses, and even military medics into action to constitute a special arm of the US Public Health Service to meet this national emergency.
  2. WILDLIFE PRESERVATION: Train and/or retrain volunteers from Americorps to conduct animal rescue in the wetlands. Use environmentalists of the Park Ranger staff to do the training. Arrange for the National Guard to transfer native animals and birds to safer environments before they become tainted.
  3. JOB RETRAINING: Authorize community colleges in those affected areas to retrain impacted workers from fishing and allied industries to other employable jobs, and make a special provision to safeguard them from possible foreclosure of homes during the retraining period. Have the Red Cross mobilize its disaster services volunteers to help in this transition./li>

Instead of cursing at BP and others, we must put our focus on incremental, step-by-step solutions. I was privileged to be a Red Cross disaster volunteer in Louisiana during Hurricane Gustav in 2008, and have a high regard for their citizens.

May some of the recommendations above clear the air lest our rationality go, shall we say, down the drain.


Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: luckycoyne@yahoo.com




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aristameriel June 12, 2010 1:22 am (Pacific time)

It is frustrating to hear about BP oil spill. I cannot believe they could not fix this problem for more than a month, just think about millions of people and animals got affected by this, I got this in email and if you would like to voice your opinion enter what you think at http://bit.ly/dk74tm your opinion will help them to find what really people think of this oil spill.

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