By Pat Byington

Several times I have been invited to the weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of Birmingham. Like any busy business club meeting, with a couple of hundred people in attendance, there is a chorus of knives, forks and spoons, clanging ever so slightly as members try to finish their meal when a speaker begins to speak. This past May, when Bill Finch, former director of Conservation at the Nature Conservancy and longtime nature writer spoke to Rotary it took only 30 seconds before the room fell completely silent.

He was speaking about the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Only a few weeks after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, Finch described the slow moving invasion that was taking place on Alabama’s and the Gulf Coast’s shores and its devastating impact on our people and the environment. When he finished his presentation, the audience was shell-shocked. I remember walking amongst the members of the club after the meeting – heads were shaking, and shoulders slightly lowered. The members were somber.

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