I was only just beginning elementary school when the spill happened, and remember feeling so badly for all these birds and seals I saw being taken in on the news. I lived in Kodiak at the time, and was trying to figure out a plan to go help with the cleanup.
What I could not imagine at the time was that justice would not be served. A childish perspective, I guess, to imagine that the people who were responsible for this would be punished for it. I confess that I am someone who, despite much evidence to the contrary, clings to the notion that we can at least have faith in the justice system.
Different from my perspective as a child, I can now see what a long and lasting impact this has had on the people of Alaska, as well as the wildlife. It has taken the majority of my life, in fact, for the people most affected by this get the justice they deserve. As we have seen, it is no justice at all.
I was quite struck by this bit in a Yahoo article on the announcement:
"It also was about the end of Alaska Native traditions and a subsistence lifestyle for several villages in the region. Because of the spill, many Alaska Natives were forced to stop harvesting seal, salmon and herring roe and move to urban areas, never to return, said Lange, who is part Aleut and Tlingit.
'A cultural link was definitely broken,' she said."
I know the high value of these subsistence items, and the difficulty in getting them in the first place. To have something so reckless and harmful happen to traditions lasting millenia bites at the soul.
It has been part of growing up Alaskan, as I know it, to hear about harmed lives and environment "because of the spill."
I think the Kodiak Konfidential blog has it right about dumping Exxon stock:
"I ain't enough of a financial whiz to say for sure, but having that many shares dumped on the market at once might certainly get someone's attention. It'd be poetic justice to reinvest it in renewable energy, and we'd have a clean conscience."
The dip in Exxon stock took yesterday should be only the beginning.