Times like these, I worry for my family’s livelihood.
Thursday, an oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. While reports are coming in that no crude is leaking into the gulf, it’s still a possibility. And the fact is, costal Louisiana’s already having trouble balancing out its fragile ecosystem. Global warming is causing the oceans to rise, which means that salty water from the gulf is flooding further into the bayous and upsetting the saline balance. Even a slight change can kill off hundreds of species of plants and animals. (Read Mike Tidwell’s Bayou Farewell, available on Amazon, for more about this.) The loss of the bayous from these shifting waters, costal erosion, hurricanes, and other factors will inevitably lead to a change in what jobs are available, and it’s a change that’s happening too fast for most people to catch up.
I grew up in Louisiana, east of Grand Isle. My dad’s a shrimper; he runs a little trawler, not the big types that fish federal waters. Growing up, all of our money came from shrimping. My parents still live down there, and my dad’s still a shrimper, and I still worry every day that with all these changes in the environment, it might not last. And I don’t know what they’d do if shrimping ever fell through.
All the talk about oil drilling and global warming has real-world repercussions, even if these things usually only get batted around as political buzzwords. For me, it’s personal. We have to do something, and soon.
There have certainly been plenty of things written on the subject, but it comes to mind now because I’m reading an article about the idea of online avatars “lying” to those viewing it.
Is this lying? Is presenting as a different race or sex in your avatar than you are in real life really lying? The wording alone bothers me, because it reminds me so much of the people who talk about transgendered people as if they’re “lying” about their identity. (Warning: link goes to a .pdf file.) How can you prove what anyone identifies as behind the screen? Maybe their online avatars are a more accurate representation of themselves than their physical bodies could ever be—be it a different sex than their physical body or a different species entirely.
I think the deeper question is not whether these people are in some way lying by presenting themselves in any particular way online. I think the question is whether or not we should start re-evaluating the way we see identity and representations thereof. The internet is changing the way society functions; we’re just not changing fast enough to keep up.
|—||The Declaration of Independence|