I grew up in one of the most beautiful places. Montrose, Alabama. My family lives on Mobile Bay, and I spent my childhood exploring the many bays, rivers, streams and creeks near my home. Starting at age 7, I would spend whole days exploring the local waters and shorelines with my little 13 foot boat. What existed naturally in my own backyard was truly utopian. Now, all the beautiful trees, wildlife and pristine waters, all will see the thick black and red oil within these next days. It brings a deeper ache than I can express.
As I flew out to the spill last Friday with my father (he’s a pilot), I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to witness. Here are some notes I took during the flight as we approached the source of this disaster:
“We are starting to smell oil…the pungent smell burns my nostrils and I feel nauseated to the core of my being….oh my God…red streaks of oil are everywhere…thick black near the well…it is crude oil and it stretches as far as I can see…I am sick…I can’t feel my own body or distinguish any of my feelings right now… this is the worst and most saddening situation I have ever seen in my life…The boats are randomly skewn about, and they are so disorganized! The cleanup efforts look completely haphazard and ineffective. It is utter chaos down there! Boats randomly placed, pulling booms that are simply swirling the oil around in circles! I really don’t feel alive right now…this is a horrible dream…why the heck didn’t BP have to have a plan in place for a disaster like this?!”
It was so much worse than I could have ever imagined and not even close to what the media has been portraying. I couldn’t even take it all in. I saw miles and miles of crude oil pouring from the Earth’s core to the ocean’s surface, red as blood, where it then proceeded to move eerily and ominously with the current toward my home. Before I even registered sadness, tears poured down my face. My entire body cried. I felt so helpless looking down at that uncontainable and chaotic mess. I will never be able to clear that picture from my mind.
This disaster could have been prevented, yet it wasn’t due to BP’s own negligence and a weak national energy policy. What’s outrageous is that BP is doing everything they can to avoid assuming responsibility for this spill. How dare they try and sidestep responsibility for the worst disaster in the Gulf’s history?!?!?!
Over 4 million gallons of crude oil are destroying the Gulf coast and innumerable wildlife habitats while also crippling local economies – this is destroying my home.The time of giveaways and loose regulation of the oil industry must end.
I hope with all my heart that this disaster will be a huge wakeup call. Things must change. We must all work to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and be involved in a clean energy revolution. Congress needs to ban offshore drilling and President Obama needs to provide unwavering support to end offshore drilling.
Please talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbors. Start organizing yourselves. Become involved with these serious issues we are facing. If we continue on our current path of carelessly extracting fossil fuels like oil and coal, rather than harnessing clean, renewable energy like wind power, we will see many more tragedies like the BP oil spill.
From the disaster zone,
Still photos taken during the flight