Heroes

We can't undo the damage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But we can stop it from happening again.

"The agony of foreknowledge combined with the impotence to do anything about it..." — Dr. Kathryn Railly, "12 Monkeys"

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The Wilderness Society

What would it take to go back in time to before the BP oil spill?

We've seen how the Gulf of Mexico looks today, five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and more than a year since the "official" end of cleanup efforts.

But do you ever wonder what it would be like if we could actually undo what was done? If there were some kind of magical reset button that allow us to go back to the fateful day right before everything went wrong?


Would it look like this?

Let's try one more time to travel back to April 19, 2010 — The Day Before the BP Oil Spill.

GIF from "Doctor Who."

The winner of the Boston Marathon sets a new world record.

Robert K. Cheruiyot of Kenya runs the 114th Boston Marathon in just two hours, five minutes, and 52 seconds — a whole 82 seconds faster than the previous record-holder, who was ... also a Kenyan named Robert K. Cheruiyot.

GIF from "The Flash."

Gas prices are holding steady around $2.86 (and won't drop that low again until October 2014).

Which is interesting because Toyota is also in a whole lot of trouble thanks to some malfunctioning gas pedals. But hey, at least they weren't intentionally manipulating emissions tests, right?

GIF from "Back to the Future."

And a New Orleans man leaps from a bridge to save a stranger's life.

Not far from the Mississippi Delta where Deepwater Horizon explodes the next day, a man named John Crosby jumps from the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway into the water below to rescue another man. Crosby keeps him afloat and breathing until help arrives.

GIF from "The Terminator."

But most importantly, our beautiful Gulf of Mexico isn't filled with dangerous oil.


Photo by John Tuggle/ Flickr.

In fact, it's utterly gorgeous ( not like now).

Photo by The222/Wikimedia Commons.

And now our time travel journey returns us to the present — where everything is exactly as we left it.

Like every time-travel adventure, the ultimate lesson here is that we can't change the past. We can't bring back the 11 workers who died in the explosion, or any of the 5,000 dead animals that were recovered in the four months following the Deepwater Horizon incident. BP has spent nearly $50 billion so far in cleanup costs and fines — but there's no amount of money that can undo the damage that's been done.

Yup. That's how much they'd have to clean up. GIF via The Wilderness Society.

But even if we can't rewrite the past, we can still make sure that we don't repeat the same mistakes.

We're still reeling from the repercussions of BP's 2010 oil spill, but the company is already moving ahead with plans to drill four more oil wells in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight.

The circumstances are frighteningly similar. But this time we have a chance to take action and stop them before it happens again (and we're faced with the fallout from another devastating disaster that our planet can't recover from) with this petition.

What are you waiting for? The future is counting on you.

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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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.