So my Spanish is a little rusty, but even I like a good challenge. I opened the web page to my second favorite country’s version of PBS and suddenly the kids cartoon switched to a live broadcast of their president as he and at least a dozen or so reporters were being taken to various sites in the Amazon Rain forest. They held onto ropes and climbed up and down steep hillsides as park rangers explained that they were looking at small pools of water contaminated with petroleum. There were probably hundreds of them throughout the area – some of them very deep.
Now all my life I’ve heard “save the rain forest! Don’t cut down trees!” but I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard about this oil spill. Turns out, a few months ago a landslide near the volcano El Reventador damaged pipelines and much of it was spilled into the waterways. But it sounds like there was already an existing problem with oil – one that had been going on longer than I’ve been alive. One thing that’s pretty easy for those of us really far away to forget is that waterways are like the blood vessels of the rain forest – everything there depends on them to live well. Contamination has major consequences for plants, animals, and people.
I know, I live so far away, it doesn’t really affect me. But I believe that we certainly won’t win any friends in my second favorite country by turning our backs on them. We have the technology, the know-how, and lots of practice cleaning up from our own disasters, why not lend a hand and help them out?