Gulf Oil Spill’s One Year Mark Approaching

It’s been a while since I’ve posted..it’s been a busy couple of months. I realized the other day that it’s been almost one year since the oil spill in the gulf. One year…can you believe that?!

I noticed that the Sierra Club has asked to be a part of the BP lawsuit. This is interesting, because a non-profit is joining forces with the Justice Department. Why would they want to be a part of a large federal lawsuit? Apparently they want to ensure that coastal communities are represented…why aren’t more non-profits stepping up and asking to be a part of this lawsuit?

Meanwhile, 5 more dolphins were found dead in gulf waters. Damn, no one is listening. The article questions whether this was a result of the oil spill. Seriously? What else would it be, people? The amount of oil and corexit in the gulf of mexico is staggering. It’s been one big federal science experiment for almost one year. One year! According to scientists studying the dolphin deaths, it’s a “mass mortality”.  Yes, I hope it’s due to algae blooms, but let’s get real. We all know what caused it, let’s not try to blame it on algae blooms for the millionth time.

At least the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has launched a massive, long-term study on the health affects of the oil spill. A little too late? Maybe. Maybe not. Where in the hell were these people almost a year ago?

At least someone has been telling the truth since the beginning and that’s Dahr Jamal. Here’s his latest article from the gulf entitled, “We’re Poisoned, We’re Sick”.

Alright gang, it’s time to come out of our winter hibernation and start kicking some ass again. I’ll be back soon and keep fightin’ the good fight.

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Giving thanks…

It’s hard to think about the silver lining, sometimes.  Especially around the holidays, when we’re reminded of the people or things that we’ve lost along the way. For me, I remember going to the beach on a bright, cool Thanksgiving day and staring at the gorgeous blue water stretched out in front of me.  That memory is tarnished with the thought of crude oil laying at the bottom of it, Corexit floating through it’s veins…it’s sad. But, we have to remember that there is always a silver lining.  By that I mean those who have been working tirelessly on behalf of the people and the oceans of the gulf coast.

First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share it with your friends, family and other concerned folks. You have been and are still an incredibly important part of getting the truth out about this disaster.

A big thank you goes out to other bloggers such as Summer Burkes from the Ladies’ Guide to the Apocalypse, Editilla from the New Orleans Ladder and Drake Toulouse from the Disenfranchized Citizen, who have been writing nonstop and constantly keeping us updated on the situation.

Thanks also to the community organizations and nonprofits who are relentlessly fighting for us, such as the Gulf Restoration Network, the Waterkeepers, Project Gulf Impact and the Surfrider Organization.

Thank you to all of those in the Twitter universe who are following the #oilspill, #corexit, #gulf, #bpcrud, #blacktide, and #BP hashtags and tweeting or retweeting (or both!) your hearts out to let folks know that this disaster is still going on.

And finally, thank you to the people on the front lines, the people like Drew Wheelan of the American Birding Association, Kindra Arnesen, and Dahr Jamail who have captured this disaster from day one and risked their lives to cover it.

I’m sure that there are folks that I’ve forgotten to include in this list of thanks, and in saying that, I’d like to thank them too…

Thanks to all of you for everything you do and please keep fighting for the truth, because one day…maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day, the truth will be told about the largest environmental disaster in this nation’s history.

Bad habits are hard to break…

Why are we just now thinking about reducing our energy consumption? Why now?

A year ago, I wasn’t this concerned with the amount of plastic I was using or how many miles I was driving in my car. Now, I’m completely obsessed with it and cringe each time I can’t recycle something. I think that it’s because this oil spill has really hit home for me. I thought that the oceans and beaches of my hometown would always be there. In the back of my mind, regardless of where I was living at the time, I knew I could go home, and they would be there waiting for me. Well, that’s not necessarily true anymore. I’m nervous to put one toe in that water, especially because of the Corexit. Which is so crazy, because that is the exact same body of water that I spent years of my life swimming in. 

For the first time in American history, we’ve got friends and families who are divided over whether or not to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, a giant body of water that has been there for thousands, if not millions of years. That’s heavy. I mean, really, really heavy when you stop and think about it. In fact, last week they were telling people in Pensacola not to make sandcastles because of the amount of oil underneath the sand!  Not making a sandcastle at the beach? What is this? The Book of Eli? I mean, seriously. That’s pretty post-apocolyptic to someone who has built thousands of drip sandcastles in her lifetime…here’s the video to go along with it:

So, is this all a part of the great awakening? A friend of mine is very much into 2012 and the events that surround it. I’m not so sure about the whole 2012 thing, but I have to say that more Americans are thinking about their energy consumption.  I guess when you see millions of gallons of oil spewing out of a fractured hole in the ground it does something to you.

Or does it? What did it do to you? Did you reduce your energy consumption for a few weeks and then fall off the wagon? Hell, I’ll admit that I did. And, it was subconcious. The other day, I left almost all of the lights in the house on. I like light, it makes me feel good, and I typically like to have a few on. But, after that oil spill, that was it. I was like a Quaker. My house was almost completely dark. It looked like a Hobbit Hole.  I didn’t care. I just wanted to do something in my life to make a difference. But, just like a recovering alchohlic, I hit the bottle again. I turned every one of those damn lights on without thinking about it. A few minutes later, I thought “Shit! I left all the lights on!”  I guess what I’m trying to say that is that we’ve got some bad habits that we’ve got to break. My gramma used to put tabasco on my fingernails so that I wouldn’t bite them. If that’s what it takes then I’m puttin’ tabasco on those damn light switches. And my steering wheel. And my toaster oven. 

What are you gonna do to fight your energy addiction? Even if it’s turning off one light switch or walkin’ to the store, you’re doin’ somethin’….as my dad likes to say, “Git ‘er done”.

Hang in there!

I was talking to my mom on the phone last night and we were reminiscing about all of the time my brother and I spent in the water while we were growing up. She said that she was really happy that we were able to swim, surf, and enjoy the water before the oil spill.  When she said that, I started to feel so many different emotions.  Anger, regret, sadness…and then, a will to fight.  That’s why I started this blog in the first place. To continue to fight for my hometown and the people in the gulf.

Battle fatigue has set in across the nation. Many people have turned to other news, such as Hurricane Earl, Paris Hilton’s recent jail time and the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.  Where will the people of the gulf fit into the daily news feeds? Well, we’re slowly fading away, thanks to the federal government’s recent announcement that the oil has “disappeared”.   Tourists are slowly coming back to the gulf coast, but the locals know better and aren’t going in the water.  Where’s the disconnect here?

Last week’s telethon “The Gulf is Back”  looked like it was sponsored by BP. The panaoramas of tourists eating gulf seafood and playing in the water was maddening.  I had to change the channel because it just isn’t true.  The tourism boards want gulf seafood to be safe (we’d all like for it to be safe, if that truly was the case) and the water to be crystal clear. But, the truth is always right underneath the surface…all you have to do is scratch a little bit and you’ll find it. Kinda like scratch off Lotto tickets.  The tarballs are right underneath that first layer of sugary sand, waiting to be exposed. If you scroll down and look at the fine print of the “Gulf is Back” website, you’ll see that it’s sponsored by the State of Mississippi…hmmm.  I mean, on one hand, great, I know people are losing money and revenue needs to be created…but like I’ve said in the past, does it have to be at the expense of the health of American people?

So, how do we combat battle fatigue and keep going? Here’s some inspiration from Kristina Johnson, Senior Press Secretary at the Sierra Club, as she writes about the resiliency of gulf coast residents.  Her story is short, but sweet.  The skeptical side of me always cringes when they call us “resilient”, though.  Aren’t there other resilient folks in the rest of the US? But hey, let’s not focus on that…we are resilient, we will keep going…this is a great article written in the LaCrosse Tribune about disaster fatigue and how it shouldn’t foil relief efforts in the gulf.

One of the things that we have to do is manage our stress about the oil spill…starting this blog was one of the ways that I’m managing my stress. I mean it, I couldn’t hardly sleep. So, I decided to start blogging and telling my story.  Are you telling your story about the spill and about the gulf?  I’m trying to find the positive in all of this and let me tell you, it’s difficult. But, I’m reminded of people like Jack Rudloe with Operation Noah’s Ark who are fighting every day to be heard. He’s not giving up, and neither should we. I’m always reminded of the cat hanging onto the tree limb with the quote that says “Hang in there!”  Find your groove and hang in there, guys. It’s may be tough, but we can do it. I’m counting on you!

Hang in there

my journey to become more environmentally aware…

alright guys…I’ve been a park ranger, park naturalist and an environmental educator…but, I just used a straw in my drink and ate fast food yesterday. Even though I bring my own mug to Starbucks and only own one car, I can still become more environmentally aware.  The oil spill in the gulf has opened many people’s eyes to the way we depend on oil and it’s made me reassess my current state of personal environmental affairs.

This blog will also track my personal journey to become more environmentally conscious… and in sharing my experiences and struggles, I hope that I can inspire you to do the same. Check out the “my journey” section of this blog for my personal updates…

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