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I’ve never been much of an environmentalist, but a trip to the gulf coast this summer got me thinking about manmade disasters, and ironically made me hopeful. My family was driving across Louisiana under that hot July sun. Tommy Tutone pumped loudly out of the stereo of my father’s car. I rolled down the window and felt the heat blast my face. The seafood restaurants along the deserted coastal towns were still open, hoping other tourists like myself would be arriving.
Unlike most families this summer who canceled their trips to the Gulf, we planned ours to see the extent of this tremendous natural disaster. I was prepared to see a slick of black when we arrived at the beach. However, we were greeted by the old seagulls in the air, seemingly welcoming us, unabated by the crisis in the gulf. As I leaned back in the seat of the car, I wondered if the media had blown the story of the oil disaster out of proportion. As soon as I got out of the car, that notion went out of my head faster than the oil pumping out of that pipe at the bottom of the sea. The stench of sludge flooded my nostrils and had me bent over coughing.
Yet, as I walked towards the water and saw the scores of BP workers sifting through the sand, I started to think of the seagulls. As bad as the situation was, they were still there. And so was I. I knew that one day, the oil would be cleaned up and life would go on. That’s reassuring.
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