Heroes

Before new drilling starts in Australia, he wants to share how the BP oil spill affected his family.

Louisiana is still healing while BP is gearing up for more drilling in Australia.

Before new drilling starts in Australia, he wants to share how the BP oil spill affected his family.
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The Wilderness Society

Telley Madina's family fishes for oysters in Louisiana.

Or they did until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Their story is recorded in this love letter (of warning!) to another community that may be soon affected by BP — the Great Australian Bight coastline.



What was it like right after the BP oil spill?

All images via The Wilderness Society.

The night crickets were silenced. Chilling.

Beyond the environmental toll, the spill also created an economic disaster for local families.

Telley's father-in-law is a third-generation oyster fisherman. When the BP oil spill happened, Telley said he estimated that it'd be more damaging to their community than Katrina. That proved true in his case.


Fishing boats in Louisiana, looking pretty darn great.

Beyond the environmental toll the BP oil spill created, thousands of families that depended on the ocean for their livelihood were left out of work.

"Even if you lost your house in Katrina, you could get back in the boat and start to work," Telley explains. "During BP oil spill, you had a boat that you had to pay for and the house but no food."

The BP oil spill also happened at the beginning at oyster season, which basically cut the income for these families right at the start.

It's impossible to truly compare the oil spill with Katrina, but thinking about it in this way puts it in a new perspective and suggests a need for a more holistic way of thinking about the consequences of oil spills.

A shot of the cleanup efforts post BP spill.

The lesson this disaster taught us should help guide other decisions being made about our world's oceans.

Should we drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight? It's a remote, vibrant ocean. The Wilderness Society is trying to stop BP from drilling there. Here's a great resource for learning more and a place to donate.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.