What Have We Learned?

What Have We Learned?

It’s been ten years today.

I was leading a night dive in Curacao and surfaced, tasting oil in my air tank. None of the others on the dive had that issue. And my air proved to be fine…but I tasted oil.

I hadn’t been watching the news, was unplugged from social media. Didn’t know until two days later, when I was in the Atlanta airport, that the BP Deepwater Horizon had exploded on April 20, 2010. Eleven men were killed and on the 22nd the rig sank.

After documenting the oil spill for a year on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I thought it would be the wake-up event that would shake the world. I was wrong. Completely wrong. As soon as the well was capped…which wasn’t soon–85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes–that mile-deep gusher polluted the Gulf of Mexico.

Chemical dispersants were used that made the spill MUCH worse than letting the oil float to the surface for removal. I watched tide pools of fizzing oily water along the beach and witnessed the destruction first-hand.

My heart broke open. I felt grief beyond anything I had known. I felt anger. I felt shame at being human and part of the problem. And now, ten years later, I feel rather hopeless because there wasn’t an awakening…for some of us, sure. But overall…now regulations are fewer and more lax thanks to the current USA administration…worse than before the spill.

We have an even greater opportunity to awaken on a worldwide level with a tiny virus making a huge impact. My greatest fear is we will not take advantage of this opportunity to make major changes that will improve the health of all life on planet Earth…and that would be the saddest of all outcomes. With such a high death toll my prayer is that it will fuel a world-wide awakening to positive change so these deaths will not have been in vain.

I wasn’t going to write about the oil spill disaster today but how could I not? It was an awakening for me and I will never be the same. Which is a good thing because I won’t go back to sleep…ever.

How did that disaster affect you? Change you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. I don’t know why I tasted oil in the air that night in Curacao but I suspect on some level I sensed what happened. We are One, connected to all life. Perhaps my cetacean self got the message loud and clear.

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