I was watching with great interest my President talking about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It hadn't hit home for me yet. Here I am sitting in my comfortable home, doing my grocery shopping , gardening, doing household chores. I might have the TV on or not. The news is full of information about this tragedy. It really doesn't sink in to our minds in the Northern regions, until you take a drive along a river near your community. Yesterday it sunk in...I feel deeply for these people and am so thankful for my beautiful river. I traveled to a nearby town yesterday, and glanced to my left at the tranquil Rock River. I stopped at a rest area and watched some fishermen near the shore, doing some sport fishing. The joy on their sun tanned faces ....clearly said that they were having a good time. No cares in the world, just casting their lines into the peaceful river. The birds were singing and coming down to dip in the clear water for a bath or drink. Ducks and geese floating by with their families. At the dam, there were lots of people fishing. Some with their children.... Introducing their kids to the joys that only nature brings. I thought about the people in the Gulf and put myself into their place. The beaches, so busy at this time of year, are empty. Little kids collecting buckets of tar balls. The water tainted and smothered with oil. The fish and wildlife gasping for a breath of air. People who have lived there for generations...who earned a living from these waters, are so frustrated and scared. Sometimes we feel like turning off the news. That to me is like putting my head in the sand. We must care about our fellow man and try to live in their shoes. I'm sure that these people don't want to accept money for this tragedy...they want their normal lives back. They want to wake up in the morning and go out the door to earn their living the way they have for generations. The problem isn't what to do to BP....the problem is plugging up that hole. This calamity will affect each and every one of us...sooner or later. We are ruining our world...I read about Nigeria just a few minutes ago. They deal with an oil situation worse than this every day of their lives. No one pays any attention to them. How long does it take to wake us up? This just gets my Irish up...It all sounds so depressing - but we can't just give in and think that we can't help! Every one of us, whatever age we are.... can do something to help slow down and reverse some of the damage. We cannot leave the problem-solving entirely to the experts - we all have a responsibility for our environment. We have to learn to use our natural resources which include air, freshwater, forests, wildlife, farmland and seas without damaging them. As populations grow and lifestyles change, we must keep the world in a good condition so that future generations will have the same natural resources that we have.