Reflecting on the Personal Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill One Year Later

COMMENTARY | The Huffington Post reports that April 20 is the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Many members of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling will be in Louisiana this week to commemorate the disaster and raise awareness of the long-term and lingering issues that still plague the region.

Living in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was hard for me to imagine that the impact or consequences of the Deepwater Horizon explosion would be felt all the way up here. I will never forget how I felt when I heard the news of the oil spill because at first I did not think it was really that serious or important.

I remember feeling sympathy for the families of the men who died aboard the rig, but I was not very aware of the significant effects of the oil spill. I have been to the Gulf of Mexico on vacation before, so I knew Louisiana was a big tourist state and I wondered how the fishermen would survive. I felt very sad and scared too because of the animals that inhabit the Gulf and the pictures that the news showed of the creatures covered in oil really made me angry.

It was at that point when I saw the pictures of the animals dying and being stuck in the oil patches that I decided to do something to help. I donated $100 to the Red Cross to help them buy food and supplies for the people affected by the oil spill. I also donated $100 to the Nature Conservancy, which helps protect wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico and other places throughout America.

I donated online to both of these charities because they were two of the main groups that had mobilized after the oil spill and also because they are large charities, so I knew they would have the most resources to help the people and animals affected. I also chose to donate because I wanted to volunteer to help clean up the beaches since a bus was heading out of Cincinnati to the Gulf area, but I was unable due to health-related problems.

So I decided the next best thing to do would be to donate online to the best charity organizations. I did notice that the gas prices began to rise to almost $3.90 a gallon and seafood prices also increased significantly during this time as well since the Gulf of Mexico ports were shutdown. The increase in gas and food prices cut into my budget somewhat, but helping out the people and animals of the region was more important to me than spending a few extra dollars at the store.

Frances Beinecke, “One Year Later, Congress and Industry Do Nothing to Make Drilling Safer”, Huffington Post