Fresh Eyes

When Disaster Spills

By Nicole Vacarella, Editorial Intern

We exist in a world where human beings thrive off of nature, and when something devastating impairs the balance of nature, the affect tends to be long-lasting. On April 20th, the beginning of what Naturalists have called one of the “worst oil spills in the history of oil spills,” occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf region is home to more than 52,227,661 people, a majority of which either do business or take vacations on the coastline ( I think it’s fair to say that you don’t have to be an environmentalist to see that this oil spill has complicated the lives of many — including the animals.

The first word that comes to me as I try to wrap my mind around all of this chaos is ‘chain affect,’ because that is ultimately what this oil spill has produced. As the oil rapidly spreads in the Gulf it is threatening the lives of the inhabitants living in the water, which then impinges on livelihoods the men and women who thrive off of it for food or commerce. Last but not least, the tourism industry is gravely affected. Each year, thousands of people travel to the Gulf with hopes to find a variety of sea food and to swim in the crystal clear beaches. Without the travelers these small business owners can’t make their profits and without any profits the businesses cannot thrive. We tend to overlook how much businesses — whether small or big — rely on the earth’s resources. There isn’t a single company out there that can truly survive on its own; and we are reminded of that when an event like this one occurs.

In hindsight, I believe that this occurrence was inevitable. It’s a part of the risk that comes with off-shore drilling. But I am a strong believer that when a devastating event makes us take a step back, we come out stronger than before. I don’t doubt that this is something that will take years to fix and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. In a situation like this, however, no single person can take the blame for what happened. So, instead of debating any particular person or corporation’s culpability, politicians, environmentalist, business owners need to work as one to restore the peace we have with nature.


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