As I stepped out of my blogging domain of Lincoln, Nebraska and to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a spring break getaway this past month, I was able to gain great insights into an environment far removed from the Midwest landscapes of Nebraska. I quickly became fascinated in the lasting effects of the BP Oil Spill that occurred in 2010 that released more than 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, affecting a large part of the gulf coast area. Through my travels I became very interested in how this area was on its road to recovery.
After the spill, the coast was relatively speaking “put out of business” as there had to be a major clean-up effort before any sort of tourism could begin. The EPA Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force as well as The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council worked alongside BP, government agencies, as well as numerous environmental non-profits to diligently clean up the coast. BP has contributed millions of dollars to complete restoration, clean-up, and tourism projects. In Fact, from 2010 to 2013, BP has supported Gulf Coast tourism by committing $179 million to the coastal region for regional and national tourism campaigns.
While in Gulf Shores, I was able to see the results of the great efforts set forth for revitalization first hand. While, yes the environmental effects still linger, it’s obvious that the gulf shores have been able to recover to a point close to its full potential. The rebound in tourism is a direct reflection of the restoration of the gulf shores beautiful white sand beaches as well as wildlife. During my stay I had the privilege of seeing a vast array of wildlife such dolphins, seagulls, jellyfish, and multiple crabs. Seeing such wildlife truly showcases that great lengths have been made to recover this coastal area as well as highlights how the gulf coast is truly working to promote everything that the beach destination has to offer.
Now approaching the three-year anniversary of what is deemed the “Deep Water Horizon” oil spill, we can truly learn a lesson of sustainability. This disaster has exemplified how with each disaster lessons can be learned as to how to better deal in the future.
As the gulf coast has learned a lesson in revitalization, how have you seen sustainability efforts come to life in your community?
Credits: Photographs by Lisa Gran. Data linked to sources.