When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 5 years ago, I anxiously watched day in and day out as the oil slick seemed to never stop. The Gulf of Mexico isn’t just any body of water to me, it’s the place I grew up. Its bays are the places where I fished with my family, it’s beaches are where I learned how to swim with the waves. An oil spill isn’t just an economic incident – or one to gawk at – it’s communities and livelihoods. And it’s not just the Gulf of Mexico. These shores mean a lot to me — but (unfortunately) I bet a lot of you reading this have stories about the rivers, beaches, oceans that mean a lot to you, but that have been also damaged by oil spills and pollution.
Here are some numbers we know about the BP oil spill, some facts we can never quantify, as well as some things we know we must do:
THE STATS – WHAT WE CAN MEASURE:
(These graphics are from Climate Desk)
THE STORIES – WHAT WE CAN’T MEASURE:
We can’t ever give you numbers though on the damage the BP oil spill caused to communities along the Gulf Coast. I encourage you to follow local groups like Gulf South Rising as they continue to organize for just compensation and a protection of their homes.
“They destroyed our livelihood, they destroyed our tradition, and they destroyed our pride” Louisiana fishing community #GulfSouthRising
— GulfSouthRising (@Gulfsouthrising) April 20, 2015
“The economy of this nation is tied to the ecology of the Gulf South. It’s time for everyone to see past the millions of dollars that BP has spent on marketing and listen to the frontline fishing, shrimping and indigenous communities about the reality of what’s happening and the solutions for equitable recovery. Fighting for the land and people of South Louisiana is protecting the economy of the United States.”
– Colette Pichon Battle, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) is a non-profit law firm and justice center offering free legal services and community campaign support for residents trying to recover from the BP Oil Drilling Disaster. Like GCCLP on Facebook
There will be actions throughout today and in the coming days. Follow #GulfSouthRising on social media and show your support.
WHERE WE NEED TO GO:
Unfortunately, there have been many oil spills since the Deepwater Horizon one 5 years ago. The same companies that pollute our water are the same ones increasing the carbon in our atmosphere. Want to help build a future beyond fossil fuels? Join the growing divestment movement and get your university, city out of fossil fuels.