In my lifetime, I've witnessed the healing power of the Earth's
environment. I grew up visiting my grandparents in the anthracite
coal mining region of Pennsylvania at the end of "King Coal's"
heyday. In fact, the 1950's, although at the end of Pennsylvania's
heyday, was probably the ugliest time of mining, the transition from
underground to strip mining was in full swing. I looked for fossils
in the literal "mountains" built from the dross of strip mining.
I still have reason to visit the second home of my youth,
and am amazed at the disappearance of those 60 year old scars.
A balm of vegetation has smoothed the knife-edged slate, changed the
mournful gray-black sheen to white-barked-birch green in summer and to a
black and white pattern beautiful enough to make a zebra envious, come winter.
Can we be expected to have this same long-term optimistic view when we
consider the gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico at this
moment? Can we even imagine a force that could convert this new
ugliness into a cosmetically corrected paradise in 60 years? As with any
traumatic injury, when damage is finally recognized, there is little chance
of reconciliation. The wounds of Locust Mountain and the Valdez have healed
and to some extent been forgotten. Will there be the means and will to put
the scars of the Macondo prospect behind us? "Sorry" just doesn't feed this