It’s the one year anniversary of my home state’s submersion into oil, also known as the BP Oil Spill. BP’s accident has been the worst spill in the history of the industry. For 153 days, we watched (I watched) as cameras documented the seepage into the Gulf of Mexico, ruining southern Louisiana’s wildlife, waterways , fishing industry and my mother’s much-beloved supply of gulf coast shrimp. When the explosion on BP’s oil rig originally occurred, early reports claimed that there was no substantial damage. A year later, I look back and wonder how this statement could have ever been accepted as truth.
A year later, some claims from BP’s compensation fund still haven’t been addressed. Habitats struggle to recover from the damage done to the ocean’s ecological system. Only five short years after Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill has adding insult to injury.
Looking back at the footage from last year’s accident, some of the images are reminiscent of the earthquake in Japan. It’s unsettling to consider the number of natural and man-made disasters that have occurred lately. The latest blow by Mother Nature – the storm system that started in Oklahoma before sweeping through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and decimating parts of North Carolina. The Washington Post is reporting that at least twenty-two people have died as a result of these storms in North Carolina alone.
In the five years that I have lived in Cleveland Heights, I have complained incessantly about the weather. Cleveland Heights is one of the more picturesque communities in the area and I can think of no other place that could provide the return on investment that Cleveland Heights has. If only the weather were just a smidge better. Summer is squeezed into two months instead of three so that winter can take liberties with the months of October, April & May. Learning the meaning of ‘lake effect snow’ has become a more valuable asset in planning my morning and afternoon commute than any GPS system. This year’s winter and spring season have felt the worst. It’s been cold. Or rainy. Or cold and rainy. There is no sun between the months of November and April. No umbrella in the world is a match for the breezes coming off of Lake Erie.
Did I mention it’s cold?
The last time I spoke with my mother and complained about the weather, she offered, ‘At least it’s just the cold… Lake Erie could flood the city.’
Aren’t mothers the wisest people? She is so right. So in honor of scaring myself and others into appreciating how fortunate we are to live in Cleveland Heights, here’s a quick reminder of what could be–