Revealed – One of 400

Earth Day at the place where it all began… Summerland Beach.

This week, I had the opportunity to see a documentary, “Greetings From Summerland” showing the local history of oil and impact of the Summerland oil spill of 1969 and resultant beginning of Earth Day. I did not grow up in this area, but have been very interested in the history and potential solutions for quite a while. The documentary was directed by Harry Rabin with a team of other contributors. The film revealed so much of the past local oil history as early as late 1800’s up to the 1960’s and the efforts as of today. This century old oil practice expanded into a global environmental problem including increased methane impact on global warming. Through old photos, videos, and review of the current research the film tells the story and how we are helping to plan solutions. A group of panelist followed including the team of active supporters and public leaders. The impact is far reaching – globally. But I truly believe that we can make a difference – if we want to.

The documentary revealed to me a connection to what I observed this month while talking one of my frequent strolls along the beach. I like to go to the beach just to open my mind, start the day, or just get out in nature and watch the rhythm and pattern of water and sea life – no expectations. On one cloudy morning, no sea life showed up, no epic sunrise, just a cloudy yet meditative time. The waves were pulling the sand away from the shore before coming back in once again. I could not get beyond a jutting rock formation due to the waves. But in the shifting sand appeared one lone capped oil well … one of the many wells, many others still in need of being capped.

The capped well helped me reflect on the history of Summerland and how our tragic oil spill in 1969 resulted in the annual celebration/reflection called Earth Day. This well is one of over 400 at this sight. But, this is only one of thousands of sites that have wells, leaks, environmental damage that impact all of us, our health, our oceans, our wildlife, our fuel and food, and our planetary health. The solution starts with each human seed and each patched well.

My greeting and hope for positive change – Earth Day 2024