South Carolina correspondent Laura Early is reporting for Florida for the summer.
When I first heard about the oil spill about a month ago, I was upset that something like that could happen today. The effects will be devastating on the fragile coastal ecosystems and the ocean which is already suffering under multiple anthropogenic stressors. As the weeks wore on, the news just kept getting worse and worse.
That was when I was in South Carolina, when the problem was "not in my backyard," so to speak. I took in the news with a certain distance, recognizing that it was an awful environmental disaster, but not much else thought went toward the situation.
Since I moved to south Florida a little more than a week ago, the problem is a little closer to home. As the reporters forecasted the arrival of the oil in the Keys and then up the East Coast, I got really angry. I realized though, that my anger was quite selfish. I was angry because I didn't want the summer that I spend in this area to be ruined. I was afraid the beautiful coasts would be spoiled and I wouldn't be able to play in the ocean and explore the underwater reefs like I had envisioned.
I did feel relief when the latest news reports stated that the oil might not reach this area, and even if it does, it will be weathered and broken down so that it won't have nearly the impact that it is having in Louisiana.
I am ashamed at the way I felt. My summer recreation plans are petty compared to the health of the marine ecosystems of the Gulf. The oceans provide so many incredibly valuable ecosystem services across the world. Hopefully, if nothing else, this oil spill will at least be a lesson that we need to take much better care of these waters because they are tied to our well being in so many ways.