Posts Tagged ‘Remembrance’

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

Revisiting the Gulf Coast

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the tragic loss of life and resources associated with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Although the oil stopped flowing into the Gulf waters last July, the impacts of the disaster are far reaching, and will persist for years to come.

Young Crabber - Grand Isle, LA


When we visited the local communities last Summer, we heard a variety of opinions and perspectives and we brought these together through blog posts, video interviews, and photography that captured the up-close and raw stories of affected communities.  On Earth Day, Friday, April 22, I will be returning to the coast to check back in on the coastal communities and provide additional documentation on the ongoing impacts along the coast.

If you are able to make a donation today to help the work, it would be greatly appreciated.  Your support helps our ongoing documentary efforts and allows us to bring these stories to you in a personal, authentic way.  Please consider making a donation using the button below, and follow along with us here on the blog, on YouTube, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Thank you so much.


Photo: Terrell Clark


04 2011

Remembering the Gulf Coast

Over the past week, I have been doing a lot of remembering; everything from what we saw and heard to what we felt and the emotions our expedition brought forth.  On Thanksgiving, I thought a lot about the people we met on our journey to uncover the truth about what happened along the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil spill.  I wondered what kind of holiday it would be for the people who have lost their entire way of life to this ongoing disaster.  It’s so easy for the majority of the population to forget what happened in the Gulf, because after 86 days of non-stop media coverage, you have to dig pretty deep to find anyone talking about it these days.

Let there be no mistake, the residents along the Gulf Coast are still reeling from this terrible situation.  During our expedition, I wrote about the resilience that is characteristic of the people who live and work in this region, and what we are hearing now is that they are being pushed beyond their limit to cope.  Earlier this week, NPR did a feature on a family that has lost everything due to the lack of work along the coast.  The article talks about the impact that the inability to provide for themselves and their families is having on the locals.  It’s a heart wrenching reminder of how devastating this whole situation continues to be.

This is a culture that is no stranger to adversity; natural disasters and the loss of wetlands are some of of the ongoing threats that are part of the everyday reality of life along the Gulf Coast.  But when you throw in a massive man-made disaster such as the BP oil spill into the mix, it casts a whole new light on their ability to keep themselves afloat.  This is something that the locals are largely powerless to fix, and therefore it continues to cause untold pain and suffering that is not easily understood.

One person that is keeping this story in focus is Ian Somerhalder, who has been somewhat relentless is his focus on the impact of this disaster on the region that he calls home.  His recent article on Huffington Post had me nodding my head in complete agreement, and it’s good to know that there are others out there that are trying to keep the focus on this community and its struggles in the aftermath of this tragedy. Ian recently started a foundation that I hope will be a source for good in the region.

Our goal for Spirit of the Gulf Coast was to understand what was happening along the coast and allow these stories to be told in an unfiltered and personal way.  The feedback from all of this has been incredible and there are rumblings amongst the team of a return visit after the new year.  We’ve had a recent wave of support, and this weekend the photo exhibit is on display at the Stacks Lofts + Artists Tour.  This has given us another opportunity to keep the conversation going and continue to spread the word about what we experienced on the coast this Summer.

If you have not had a chance to watch the film we produced, it’s worth checking out.  Feel free to post this to your own websites, blogs, etc.  We want the stories to be told far and wide.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of our efforts.  And please, this holiday season, keep those living and working along the Gulf Coast in your thoughts and prayers.  This is when they need it most.

Photos courtesy of Terrell Clark
Video Production by Nathan Black


12 2010

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who shared their evening with us last Thursday at Georgia Tech!  I think the event came off really well, and we were happy with the content and the speaker presentations.  I hope the material was informative and thought provoking – we certainly worked very hard on the event elements and we wanted to provide as accurate a depiction of what we experienced as possible.

Special thanks to Molly and Chris from Students Organizing for Sustainability at Georgia Tech for co-hosting the event – you guys are awesome, and your team really helped us out tremendously! Heather from Myriad Fine Art, Jen & Steve, thank you sincerely for the photo exhibit. Thank you to our guest speakers Jeff Duvall, Dr. Marilyn Brown, Lori Bosarge, and Polly Sattler – your testimony really provided helpful and inspiring content. Sarah and Michelle from The Hub – thank you for all the support and encouragement these past 3 months. Thanks to all the individual supporters for the donations that have been provided – we could not have done this without you! And, to all that have shared in our journey thus far, namaste.

Spirit of the Gulf Coast visits Lori Bosarge

Today marks the 6 month anniversary of the BP well explosion and I thought it would be fitting to take a moment and reflect on all that has happened since then.  During our expedition, we witnessed firsthand how local communities along the coast have been seriously impacted by the disaster, and how they continue to reel in its aftermath.  Let’s not forget the tragic consequences of the spill, despite the fact that the well has been sealed and there is no longer 24/7 news coverage of the oil erupting into the water.  I hope that we will learn from this experience and each take a personal inventory in our own lives so that we can make more informed decisions with energy choices and consumer products in the future.

With this project, we wanted to show the human side of the BP disaster, and provide some helpful resources for people to consider as they make choices in their day to day life.  Each of us plays a part in the system that keeps oil and other fossil fuels embedded in our culture.  There are some tough decisions ahead to be sure. The good news is that we have some incredibly smart people working on energy alternatives that are available now, but we need the public to rally in support of a clean energy future. Do we want to let this disaster fade in the public consciousness or do we want to learn from it and make bold choices for our future? Are we ready to take steps in our own lives to lessen our impact, or are we going to keep doing what we’ve been doing until someone or something forces us to stop or adapt, however painful that might be?

These are some questions that I am pondering today. I would like to believe that the 11 people that lost their lives, the countless animals that have been killed, the ecosystem that provides life and sustenance to so may people, and the residents living with the aftermath along the coast have not been forgotten, and we are capable of learning an important lesson and taking a stand for the long term health of the Gulf Coast and its inhabitants.

BP, We Want Our Beach Back
I would like to recommend 2 books that were instrumental to me in getting engaged on the issue of oil dependence – these books provided the foundation for this mission some 2 and a half years ago. They are: The End of Oil by Paul Roberts and Winning The Oil Endgame by the Rocky Mountain Institute. If you even have an inkling of interest in this topic, these are excellent resources to consider.

What about you?  What is your take on this? Are you taking steps to lessen your consumption of oil and products made from oil? Do you agree that we need to look inward and take some personal responsibility?

At the event last Thursday, we had personal pledges on the back of the programs that provided suggested steps that each person consider to reduce their own impact on the system.  These are listed in the Actions to Take section on the right column of the website.  Have you taken any of these steps?  If so, please leave us a comment below.

Please do stay in touch with us as we continue to post suggested action items that we can all take in our day to day lives to lessen our reliance on oil.  If you are not already subscribed to our blog, there is an email sign up form on the top right so you won’t miss any future posts.  Thank you again to everyone who has stepped up to the plate and taken action so far. Each person really can make a difference.


10 2010