Posts Tagged ‘Gulf of Mexico’

Remembering The Spill – 1 Year Later

1 Year.  That’s how long it has been since BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded and an immense loss of life ensued.

Deepwater Horizon Fire - Photo, US Coast Guard11 men lost their life on April 20, 2010.  Many more lives would follow.  Who can say for sure what the true tally of lost life really is?

Last Summer, I had a sick feeling about what was occurring in the Gulf.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  Even more unbelievable to me is how we are supposed to believe that conditions are anything close to ‘normal’ down there now.  We don’t get to disrespect the ecosystem for months on end and get back to business as usual in less than a year.

No, I believe that we need to own up to this severe insult to the system and realize we have done significant harm to our environment, our fellow humans, and other creatures that we share this planet with.

I cannot forget.

We saw a side of this disaster that few have experienced outside the coast, and I can’t help but think about the plight these communities continue to struggle with today.  I cannot think of a single person that doesn’t want the Gulf of Mexico to be back to normal.  If only wishing made it so…

Today, as we remember this tragic event, I think it is especially fitting to pause and reflect on the lives there were lost in the accident 1 year ago:

Jason Anderson
Spirit Study 2 - Photo by Terrell ClarkAaron Dale Burkeen
Donald Clark
Stephen Curtis
Gordon Jones
Roy Wyatt Kemp
Karl Dale Kleppinger, Jr.
Blair Manuel
Dewey Revette
Shane Roshto
Adam Weise

As we reflect, let us ask ourselves if we’re ready to honor their sacrifice and take a real close look at the Deepwater Horizon disaster and why it happened. There are lessons for us all, if we care to listen.

The closing lines of the President’s Oil Spill Commission Report says it best:

“Our message is clear: both government and industry must make dramatic changes to establish the high level of safety in drilling operations on the outer continental shelf that the American public has the right to expect and to demand. It is now incumbent upon the Congress, the executive branch, and the oil and gas industry to take the necessary steps. Respect for the 11 lives lost on that tragic day last April requires no less.”

What does this bring up for you?  Is this on your radar today? Are you ready to take action to reduce your own oil consumption?  If so, here are a few tips to get you started.

Help us continue the work by showing your support for our documentary efforts here. You really can make a difference in this story.


Thank you for your support!

Top Photo: US Coast Guard

Bottom Photo: Terrell Clark


04 2011

Dr. Sylvia Earle Speaks at UGA Oil Spill Symposium

This afternoon, I had the honor of attending the Keynote speech for this week’s UGA – Georgia Sea Grant Oil Spill Symposium.  The speaker was legendary NOAA scientist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and champion of the sea, Dr. Sylvia Earle.  Dr. Earle gave a wonderful talk on the urgency of protecting our world’s oceans, including first-hand testimony of her findings over the 40 years that she has been exploring the sea.

Sylvia Earle at UGA Oil Spill Symposium
Early in her talk, she recognized Dr. Samantha (Mandy) Joye, Marine Biologist at UGA for her tireless efforts to spread the word about her research into the spill’s impact on the water in the Gulf of Mexico.  The room broke into applause as this legend in the field of Marine Science gave a heartfelt thank you to Mandy for her refusal to remain silent and for her ongoing research into this disaster.  Mandy will be appearing on one of the panels tomorrow, which will no doubt bring compelling information and expert testimony to the Symposium.

Dr. Earle’s account of her lifetime of exploring the world’s oceans was moving and inspiring beyond words, but I wanted to share a few quotes from her here:

“The greatest diversity of life in in the sea. …we need to have access to the sea”

“A turtle can’t know why these changes are taking place.  We are the ones”

“There is a series of species at risk due to our carelessness”

“We still know far less than we should know about what happened, what continues to happen” [re: oil spill]

“If people don’t know, they can’t care”

“Right now, our planet is blessed with insight and information that will serve us well if we choose to use it”

“We need to embrace different attitudes toward the natural world”

“Once you know, you can’t go back.  You are burdened with knowledge”

“Now that we know what we know, we can make better choices going forward”

“We can make a difference by making changes in our behavior”

Those last few quotes were incredibly inspiring to me, because they essentially cut to the heart of how Spirit of the Gulf Coast was born and why I traveled to Athens for the Symposium.  This initiative came about because of our desire to spread the word about the tragic impact of the BP oil spill by showing a glimpse of the lives of people that are on the front lines.  We hoped that by bringing the human element to the forefront, we might capture the attention of those who might have tuned out so that we could have a meaningful discussion on our role in this unprecedented event and its ongoing impact.

Sylvia Earle and Brandon Sutton
Ultimately, this disaster is an opportunity for us to wake up and come to some tough realizations on how our collective behavior has brought us to this perilous point in human history.  I echo Dr. Earle’s feeling that not only do we need to embrace different attitudes toward the natural world, but that we can each make a difference by making changes in our behavior.  We can no longer ignore the ramifications of our past behavior and now that we know what we know, we can make better choices going forward.

This quote is from the end of our film. I thought it was particularly appropriate given Sylvia’s message today:

“We’re in jeopardy of losing this area, losing the ecosystem, losing the people, losing the wetlands, and I think we all need to pay attention.  We need to really take a look at what role we all play, as individuals and as society in that impact, so that we can hopefully make better choices in the future.”

If you want to be part of the solution but you’re not sure where to begin, there are links on the Taking Action area of our site that will give you a starting point.  We won’t solve the problem overnight, but we can each take the first step.

We each have choices. The question is, what will we do with those choices?  I hope you will join us in looking inward and taking steps toward reducing our collective impact on the Gulf and our environment overall.  If you’re ready, please share your thoughts in the comments or email us so we can work together.


01 2011