Heroes

How BP not caring about their environment plan actually helped this environment.

No new oil rigs in Australia's whale nursery. At least, not yet.

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The Wilderness Society

A government regulator has put the kibosh on BP's plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight. At least, for a while that is.

But wait. Back up. What the heck is a bight?

The Great Australian Bight is this huge open bay off the southern coast of Australia. Lots of cliffs around it. Looks like this:


Some of the cliffs are over 60 meters tall. Wouldn't want to fall from that. Image by Takver/Flickr.

The oil giant wanted to put in four new exploratory wells here a little way off the coast. But their plan to protect the Bight against any ecological damage wasn't up to snuff, the government regulator said:

"After a thorough and rigorous assessment, NOPSEMA [the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority] has determined that the environment plan does not yet meet the criteria for acceptance under the environment regulations, and has advised BP of this decision."

You know that sinking feeling you get when you see "environment" and "BP" in the same sentence? Yeah, they had it too.

"After its Gulf of Mexico disaster, you would think BP would be at pains to demonstrate that it is going well above and beyond regulatory requirements to ensure its safety and environmental plans are the new standard of global best practice," said Wilderness Society South Australia director Peter Owen.

BP was, of course, the oil company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 that released 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the worst marine oil spill ever, sledgehammering the Gulf's fishing and tourism industry.

The oil mucks up bird's feathers: They can't fly, they can't keep warm, and they can't keep dry after. It's pretty much a death sentence. GIF via Bloomberg Business/YouTube.

“It is very concerning that BP doesn't appear to be taking the potential risks drilling in our pristine oceans presents seriously at all," Owen continued.

Everyone raise their hands if they like non-oil-covered animals!

The Bight is an important sanctuary for many species. Whales live there — humpback whales, blue whales — it's even where many southern right whales come to give birth and raise their young. That's not to mention it's the home of sea lions, fish, seabirds, and countless other species.

How much would you pay to get that kind of view? GIF via Jaimen Hudson/YouTube.

And, oh yeah, humans live there too. For them, the coast brings in $442 million per year in fishing money and $1.2 billion in tourism.

BP may return. But we might be able to stop them.

According to NOPSEMA guidelines, BP now has the chance to edit and resubmit their plans. This is a crucial moment.

The Wilderness Society is calling for more donations to help them keep up their opposition. So far they've done some research and modeling and gathered signatures for a petition, but they've got more work ahead of them.

“It was only five years ago that BP caused one of the worst oil spills in history in the Gulf of Mexico," they said. "We won't let BP do the same to Australia."

Learn more about what you can do to support The Wilderness Society and keep BP out of this important natural sanctuary.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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