Everyone across the globe is aware of the disaster that's taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. After a BP-operated oil rig exploded and sank to the bottom of the Gulf on April 20, worries about the catastrophic effects have become greater with each day. Oil slicks and tar balls, mixed with invisible dispersants, have continually washed upon our beloved shores, bringing a sobering reality with them that no Gulf coast resident wants to acknowledge.
With no end in sight, words lack the ability to express the disgust felt toward this situation and BP; the disgust felt by millions watching their homes and lives disappearing with each drop of oil without a way to control it. But, regardless of how terrible it may seem, there is always a good that prevails; a lesson that is learned to better the future and bring to the surface what is truly important. This situation proves the urgency of performing the necessary tasks to better our world.
With all of the negative media blaring at every moment, it is very easy to get sucked into a "lose all hope" mind-set, engulfing yourself in a sea of pessimistic and unhelpful thoughts. I slipped into this thinking after the last attempt to cap the spill failed. Every time I glanced at the T.V. or used the computer I was overwhelmed with mainstream media roaring about the tragedy. I couldn't help but become selfish and begin raging about how the water and beaches that I love so much would be ruined.
After a day of this, I began to realize that focusing on the bad was getting me absolutely nowhere. We are faced with challenges every day, and one of the most important keys to survival is to overcome. We must learn from the circumstances and do something about it. Disasters have been taking place on this earth since the beginning of time, and interestingly enough, we have been able to survive them. All living things on Earth are programmed to adapt in order to survive, but if we aren't willing to change our ways now to create a better situation for ourselves, we never will make that change. And with this last wake-up call, now is the time to begin the process.
When I think of a better future, I think of solar power, wind energy, bikes, oil-free water, and overall clean energy sources; a future where we nurture our earth. I know that all of the tasks to produce these images probably won't be accomplished in a short period of time but why give up before we've even begun? Earl Nightingale, a famous American motivational speaker, once said, "The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment."
It is sad to think that it could take a disaster like the Gulf oil spill to finally convince us to begin the path to a cleaner planet, but after personally experiencing the possible effects of offshore drilling, I believe that we should do it not only for ourselves, but for the helpless animals and marine life that have suffered from our own hands. Gulf Coast residents are expected to be sorrowful and angry about this catastrophe that has damaged our modern day lives, and we have a right to be. But it makes more sense to fight a difficult crisis with courage and unity rather than pity or selfishness.
One day the Gulf, our home, will be as clean, perfect and beautiful as it was before this mess. The beaches and water will once again shine with the beauty that is seen only in this part of the world and that holds a special importance to citizens on the coast. Although the process to ensure this will take time, the wonder of nature always finds a way to heal itself. But to guarantee a strong hold on the place we love after it is finally returned to health, we must sacrifice our minor wants.
Local response to the recent news about the capping of the well is cautious optimism. But if this nightmare is truly reaching an end, we are now waking up to a sobering reality: We must assess the real and long term damage to our ecosystem. And we must take on the task of removing the poison from our gulf, nursing all of its creatures back to a state of well being, and seeing that this never happens again.
Basch Jernigan writes a regular column that is published weekly in the Baldwin People section of all Gulf Coast (Alabama) Newspapers. He attends Gulf Shores High School in Gulf Shores, Alabama.