We live 4 1/2 hours from the Alabama Coastline. We have always adored the beach, and, thanks to the fact that we have relatives that are locals, we are fortunate enough to get to come fairly often.

Alabama was not blessed with much coastline (I personally feel that is due to Florida being a bit greedy on coastline-choosing day), but the beaches we did get are gorgeous. Different than any other coastline I’ve ever been to, the Gulf of Mexico beaches have the most luxurious of white sand to sink your toes into, the perfect amount of waves for families to play in, and our little beach towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have just the right amount of civilization to make it fun without being over commercialized.

However, all of that is in the process of changing. The BP oil crisis has made it to our beaches, and won’t be leaving for quite some time.

We headed down here on Friday to spend some time with family and to enjoy our favorite getaway town. We knew that we were within days of the projected oil landfall, but we didn’t realize that we would be down here for the historical Day One.

We ate dinner Friday night over the ocean, admiring somewhat melancholically the pristine beaches and gorgeous water. The twitter reports had already started coming in that there were small amounts of oil being found down the beach, so we knew this would be a last moment.

On Saturday, we headed to the beach to see for ourselves.

It was a gorgeous day – perfect for swimming in the ocean. The air was warm, the water was warm, the waves were perfect.

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But it was too late.

The sand was lined with globules of nasty, thick oil:

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It stuck to our feet and refused to come off – which makes me shiver to think what it is doing to the countless animals that come in contact with it.

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And tar balls were floating in the water, resulting in the waters being deemed unsafe to swim in due to hazardous chemicals.

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All I could think about was that this was just day two. It was going to get SO much worse. AND they haven’t even stopped the leak yet!!

I know I’m not the most educated person on this issue – one of the least, I’m sure. But I can’t get past this point: If you’re technologically able to drill through the ocean and earth and harness oil, then you should be technologically able and responsible enough to fix things in a reasonable timeframe when they go wrong. And if you’re not, then quit putting our world in peril with your mistakes.

Of course, I had just seen the BP commercial the night before, apologizing profusely and promising that everything would be made right, and that thousands of people and hundreds of boats were working on the cleanup all over the coastline. I even heard one BP exec say when interviewed on the news, “We have twice the number of people that are needed working on cleanup.”

But there were no signs of BP here this weekend, unless you count their nasty mess. No signs of anyone doing anything except beachgoers staring in shock and dread of what was to come for our precious beaches.

From some expert’s reports, our ecosystem may not be restored to its natural state for the rest of her childhood:IMG_9490 (2)

And I cannot tell you how much that breaks my heart.

And there are so, so many more people and animals that are and will be much more tragically impacted than us.

I don’t see how BP can ever “make right” how vastly they’ve taken away from all of us.

We plan on still supporting our beach towns by returning here throughout the year. Although we may not have been able to prevent the ecological destruction caused by BP, we can prevent the economical fallout and keep our beach towns alive. If you live nearby, I encourage you to do the same.

I plan on running a series on Alabama Bloggers featuring all of the other fun activities at and near our coastlines to help people adjust their vacations without relocating them. If you would like to write a post for this series or offer ideas, email me at rachel@alabamabloggers.com.

21 thoughts on “My One Rant of the Year, Brought to You by BP.

  1. Rant on sister. I'm so with you.
    Not only will it probably not be restored for all our kids' childhood, but probably not their adulthood either.

  2. You are so insightful Rach :)

    This all breaks my heart so much. I MISS Baldwin County and have always known in the back of my mind that we would move back there one day. I grew up there, at the beach and the bay and Joe has been quite a bit. I'm so sad to know that my new baby will know nothing of it :(

    My Mom lives about 25 miles inland and they can smell it where they live.

    I also don't know how BP can ever "make this right." Those billionaires have no idea about all the people in Baldwin and Mobile Counties who are poor as dirt to begin with but make their money fishing and shrimping. Not to mention the tourist industry. It's really, really sad.

  3. I'm concerned about people being exposed to the petroleum. It is a carcinogen. I'm wondering how long before evacuation occurs. Only if God decides to stop it will it be stopped. I hope some people are praying.

  4. There is nothing they can do to make it right. It's pretty much unforgivable and definitely unforgettable.

  5. Rachel, excellent post.
    I am actually heading down the 15th – 17th (Mobile/Pensacola) for work. I am staying at a local B&B, and I assure you, I will be asking lots of questions and will post on my blog as the days progress. Feel free to share with anyone.

  6. Thanks for the update, although now I'm crying thinking that my kids may never know our beautiful beaches the way we remember them.

  7. Those pics are horrible, can't believe the beaches will look like that for years to come…so sad!

  8. Thank You Rachel for telling it like it is, I love you all so much and appreciate your blog on the truth. They say now it is going to Florida, which I hate, but…. I am human and do not want it here either. BP should be able to stop this if they cared. It is and will always be a great place to live.

  9. As a land locked mid-westerner, I have to admit to not getting too emotional over the oil thing. But you have brought it to life for me. I think your anger is justified. Good for you though to remember to keep the small town alive! (I am a small town gal, and hate to think of what these things can do to them so easily)

  10. I am just sickened over this entire disaster. Jeremy has a cousin that helped build the Horizon oil well, and he lost 5 friends in the disaster. He was 5 miles away from the explosion (on another well) and watched it burn.

    The whole thing is just a mess; from the beaches, to the wildlife, to the economy…I'm afraid it will never be the same again.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree whole-heartedly with you.

  11. i know what you mean. i'm from pensacola and keep up with what's going on from friends still there. it's hard to put into words, the feelings, the hurt, the worry…but you did exactly that. thank you.

  12. If you'll rant, then I'll rant. While I think BP is a disaster of a company, I (of the less government is better government philosophy) have been extremely disappointed in our government's lack of ability/desire to do something. My husband works on natural gas pipelines (not the same thing, but stay with me. . .). Due to governmental regulations, he couldn't step foot out of his truck in Louisiana without his steel-toed boots and hardhat on. BUT THE GOVERNMENT CAN'T DO ANYTHING IN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE? Please. Another case of big business having one too many connections in Washington, if you ask me!

  13. My husband and I were talking about the irony of this. One of the reasons they are drilling off-shore is b/c the EPA won't let them drill in "protected areas" like Alaska where it wouldn't do anything to upset the wildlife and the ecosystem, and if there was just a spill it would be above ground and you cap it and be done.

    We have to get oil from somewhere since the government is keeping us dependent on it, so now they've gone off-shore and had this terrible tragedy. If they would just let this country drill on it's own land things like this wouldn't happen.

    I nearly cried when I saw that last picture of Ali at the beach. So sad. :(

  14. This just really struck me that we can take nothing for granted. It is real “food for thought”. The time frame for restoration is the truly sad part and that some of our youth of today may never know the pristine beach we took for granted. Keep up the good work Rachel.

  15. Thankfully, there are good and bad days. We received just those 2 or 3 days of tarballs and have had clean, clear water since then. I know there will be bad days again, too, as the winds shift, but am glad it doesn't seem to be every day (unless they don't plug up that dang leak!).

    Our family is frustrated not only with BP but also with the govt and the state, too, for the lack of cleaning going on. I'm thankful for the towns like Magnolia Springs, AL and Destin, FL who care enough to take matters into their own hands, not caring that it's not yet "approved."

  16. I live in Mobile, Alabama and my heart is so broken that I can barely breathe. Dauphin Island was the best kept secret…gulf shores with out the tourisim. Pure white beaches from one end of the island to the other. You could literally walk the beach during certain times and never see another human being…

    All the blogging, in leu of the "spill" is magnificient, and I hope it continues… but I'm thinking that just talking amongst ourselves is not enough.

    We need to be writing letters, the old fashion way, to our legislators, to our congressmen, mayors, governors, to BP and every other corporation that has a rig out there. We need to start flooding their offices with real mail about our disgust and how our lack of drilling regulation is a bunch of hog wash… we need to remember this, WE NEED TO REMEMBER THIS and think about the next time we get into our cars to go to the corner store when we really could have just walked or hopped on our bikes…we need to look at OUR involvement in this unforgivable horror story. We need to turn our eyes on ourselves and look at our rediculous waste and constant greed.

    Get out your pens and paper and let's write! Please, let's write
    My heart absolutely aches. . .

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