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"

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

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

Keep Reading Show less

The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

Keep Reading Show less