The ecological disaster that our great coastlines are facing is more than anyone could imagine. Our country will be facing the devastation from this major oil spill for generations to come.

This should be more than a wake-up call for all. This tragedy will drown our economy on levels no one can comprehend right now.

The amount of people and species this oil spill affects is endless. Our country needs to be focusing on other forms of sustainable energy.

I urge President Obama to ban offshore drilling in new areas and lead the charge for a clean-energy economy. All should be urging our president to do the same.

Charee Theriault

Raymond

Drill, baby, drill? These are words of “mass destruction.”

All of life on the planet had to die, every plant, animal and tree. It had to “burn, brew and simmer” for millions of years. That’s what it took in this dance of life to make “black gold,” once also known as “Texas Tea.”

As it is taken from the earth and burned back into the atmosphere, it sets up the cycle to repeat again — polluting our lives, our lungs, even our children. Utter the words “Drill, baby, drill” and we participate, we help to activate, we speed up the process of destroying and recycling all life on the planet.

In archaeology, the “creators and destroyers of worlds” was a phrase applied to ancient gods. With so much power and so little understanding, our impact is huge. Yet we defer our power to lesser gods — to industry, to politicians, to the “experts.” In the end, the toxic air, water and soil return to kill everything — all life, all potential and all possibility.

But wait. There is hope! The Earth has not abandoned us. It maintains a constant geothermal temperature to help cool the summers and contribute heat to the winters.

The sun also rises, and homes are running on solar energy right here in Maine. Water can be heated as it is used. Cars now run not only on oil. Choices and more choices. Wow! How fast to our own suicide did we need to go?

Now we can slow down, cast our vote by making the right purchase, state our mindfulness from our wallet or purse. A new day dawns, a new door opens, an opportunity presents itself and a new world awaits to be created.

Marion Bowman

Chelsea

The extraction and use of fossil fuels have dire consequences. Recently, 26 coal miners died in the Massey Energy disaster in West Virginia. Eleven oil platform workers died in the explosion that brought down the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 22.

Oil is continuing to flow from the accident site and is devastating the entire Gulf Coast region: offshore and, increasingly, onshore. As we burn fossil fuel, heat-trapping carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Scientists tell us we can expect more frequent, more intense storms as a result. Consider, for example, the recent flooding in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, which was caused by unprecedented rainfall and left at least 33 people dead.

These events and others like them are the price we are paying for our reliance on fossil fuel. The uncomfortable truth is that we are all complicit in these deaths and this destruction.

When we drive our cars, heat our homes, turn on the lights and run the washing machine, most of us are using fossil fuel. We need better options.

As individuals, we can and should make changes to reduce our energy consumption. We can use CFL light bulbs, better insulate our homes, choose Energy Star products, etc. These types of beneficial actions are, unfortunately, insufficient on their own.

We need a comprehensive national energy policy that quickly and dramatically institutes a clean-energy economy. The Senate is currently considering comprehensive energy legislation: one bill introduced by our own Sen. Susan Collins and another introduced by Sens. John Kerry. D-Mass., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.

The details differ, but the goals of the two bills are the same: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Please join me in urging both of our senators to pass a strong clean energy and climate bill this year.

Beth Fuller Valentine

Gorham

Having suffered food poisoning, I have strong interest in that issue. It may surprise some to find that national-scale food poisoning and the BP oil disaster have a common root cause, i.e. the corrupt, sometimes salacious relationship that exists between parts of government and certain corporate entities.

The result is unsatisfactory monitoring and enforcement of public protections for the sake of profit — and elections.

It is fundamentally unfair and should be made a criminal offense to practice “cost externalization” at the expense of an unsuspecting, intentionally misinformed citizenry. That practice must be terminated — along with the careers of those who make a living by inflicting externalized costs of doing business on the rest of us.

It’s become painfully obvious that our entire regulatory structure must be thoroughly reviewed and revised to meet the requirements of a safe, environmentally sound program of qualification, regulation and comprehensive compensation.

Losses and damage suffered by private citizens and small businesses must be fairly and promptly compensated. Tragically, the worst consequences of food-borne illness are suffered mostly by our kids, the elderly and pregnant mothers — our most vulnerable citizens. Oil spills affect our most vulnerable regions.

Food poisoning and the BP disaster are only two of many glaring examples of why our elections must be 100 percent publicly funded. We will no longer tolerate the costs of corporate entities buying and subsidizing our elected officials, nor the kind of legislation that serves us ill at every turn. We demand corrective action now!

Seabury Lyon

Bethel

I am responding to “Protests about oil spill ignore nature of economy,” by Rob Wellman on June 2. Wellman makes a very good point in that we are all to blame for being addicted to oil; that using said oil to drive to a protest seems hypocritical.

My opinion is we should have been gathering to protest our nation’s energy and environmental policies long before this. Human nature tends to wait until we are up against a wall of tragedy before resolving to change.

Therefore, though the hour is very late, I will drive to protests and stand for policies that would safeguard our home, the Earth. I’m practicing a sort of cap-and-trade in that I will forgo visiting out-of-state friends, cut out unnecessary trips and consume fewer products that use oil to be created and transported long distances.

For now, this is the best choice my conscience can make.

Jenny Gray

Wiscasset

America’s oil dependence puts our environment in peril. In light of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history caused by the explosion of an oil rig and rupture of the oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, our senators must act this year to reduce America’s dependence on oil and other dirty fuels.

This manmade nightmare is costing the nation millions of jobs while threatening our shores and ocean ecology. Millions of gallons of oil are surging into the Gulf, yet Americans are still addicted to oil.

Time is of the essence for our senators to pass a bill to save our environment, economy and national security from additional damages.

Our oil addiction has severe consequences on our national security interests as well. We spend $1.19 billion on foreign oil every day, often from nations that have unstable regimes hostile to the United States and our allies.

Spending our money on oil only adds to our costs, both in soldiers’ lives and in war funding, all because of our addiction to their oil reserves.

On a larger scale, burning oil pollutes our planet and contributes to global climate change. Burning oil leads to further negative impacts that will cause irrevocable damage to our planet.

We must harness the vast natural resources at our disposal, such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydrogen, to provide clean energy for the 21st century.

In the wake of the deep-sea oil disaster in the Gulf , it is critical for Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to work with their colleagues and pass clean-energy legislation this year. Americans cannot afford any further inaction by the Senate. Our senators must act now to pass a law to safeguard our environment, economy and national security from further harm.

David Marshall

City Councilor

Portland

 

Watching the growing tragedy of the deep-sea oil well blowout evokes strong feelings. Grief and wonder about the insanity of it all top my list. My grieving extends to all the victims of this apocalyptic ecological event, human and otherwise.

It is devastating to people of the Gulf region, and it is killing and maiming our living kin in the water, the air, on land, and in intertidal areas, including the grasses, coral reefs and other living things. Imagine being imprisoned in that area and being engulfed by oily slime.

This is a worldwide tragedy too. Although diluted by the vastness of the oceans, we will experience negative effects in the Gulf of Maine and all over the world. Everything is interconnected.

The wonder is about the insanity of drilling for oil a mile below the surface of the ocean, given the now vivid potential for ecological catastrophe. What are we thinking? How can we play God this way?

There are certain things it is unconscionable to do, even if we have the technology to do them. We are all criminals for undertaking or condoning this kind of activity, by direct action or passive, even unconscious, acquiescence to something like deep sea drilling.

The oceans are the source of all life. To undertake something like deep-sea drilling with as much potential for disaster, with so little knowledge and ability to control failure, is a crime against all life.

If we are truly human, we should be ashamed and vow to stop deep-sea drilling worldwide. Getting off the death spiral of living based on the consumption of fossil fuels would be a worthy, and probably necessary, complementary objective.

We can do it if we grasp that we shouldn’t be playing God, and use our powers to support all life.

Steve Weems

Brunswick

 

As BP wrestles with its blown-out well, the difficulty and danger of extracting oil from the places it can still be found has become evident to all.

At the same time, the political and economic costs of importing oil from the Middle East are becoming unsustainable.

Our country must move beyond petroleum, wherever possible. Recently, several senators, both Democrats and Republicans, have unveiled energy and climate proposals.

This is an important step forward.

And now the White House and Senate leadership need to combine the best ideas from these proposals and bring a strong clean energy and climate bill to a vote this year.

Renewable, non-fossil energy will be part of our future sooner or later. With appropriate national incentives, it can be sooner — bringing jobs in manufacturing, weatherizing and operating solar, wind, ocean and geothermal generators.

Or it can be later — when other countries have already taken the lead. With comprehensive legislation, we can reduce pollution, enhance our national security and rebuild our economy, all at the same time.

Our leaders need to make clean energy and climate legislation their first priority.

Allen Armstrong

Portland