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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Eco Mysteries and Earth Day

Celebrate Environmental Literature in the Time of Covid-19

Coincidence or Serendipity? Three historic events this April have coincided with a personal event that's meaningful to me and, hopeful, to my reader. This month marks the tenth anniversary of the BP oil spill, the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Wow! What are the chances of that happening? Could this be the universe reminding me of my passion for writing eco mysteries is important and should continue? I might also mention the strange coincidence of our stateroom # 1918, on our recent cruise to Antarctica, which coincided with the Spanish flue epidemic—and hinted at the Covid-19 pandemic. By sheer luck, the virus missed us, but infected the passengers on the next cruise—but that is a tale for another blog.
Today, we all feel a deep sense of anxiety as Covid-19 rages across our world. Ten years ago, we experienced the same sense of dread when the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig dumped 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in biggest offshore oil disaster in world history.

Eco Mystery Diamondback Terrapins
THE ADVENTURES OF THE SIZZLING SIX by Claire Datnow Illustrated by Ruth Palmer
Cleaning an Brown Pelican after the BP Oil Spill

The catastrophe closed down business along the Gulf Coast at enormous economic cost. We witnessed the horrific images of oil spewing up from the ocean floor, people, birds, and marine life suffering and dying amid flames and toxic oil. It took 87 days to cap the well. After the disaster, BP penalty funds have continue to provide a golden opportunity to repair the environmental damages caused by the spill (
Alabama Audubon's Gulf Coast Project). Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has shut down the Gulf coast, once again.
Coincidentally, the recent publication of the
Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Operation Terrapin Rescue, was inspired by the oil spill. It is my hope that my Eco mystery series will motivate young people to take action to prevent such future disasters. The blurb on the back cover of Operation Terrapin Rescue reads:

Operation Terrapin Eco Mystery


When an oil rig blows up, releasing a monster oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico and killing wildlife, six determined teenagers plunge into a dangerous adventure. Undaunted by a fierce hurricane, hungry gulls and raccoons that devour the terrapins’ eggs, they must find the hidden nests before the oil from the spill destroys them. Can they save the endangered terrapins? One thing is certain—it’s a complicated Eco mystery and The Sizzling Six, with the help of a team of brilliant scientists, must take action before it is too late. (available from Star Bright Books)

Fifty years ago, Earth Day celebrations jump-started the modern environmental movement. In the time of Coronavirus, Earth Day 2020, has shifted to the digital realm to prevent the spread of the virus. Denis Hayes, the founder of the movement, points out that Earth Day has also come to focus on another threat to the planet, climate change, which 50 years ago was not part of the national discussion.
Although the present crisis is unprecedented, some aspects, which have worsen crises in the past, are familiar to us now.
1) Warnings from scientists and medical experts are again being played down or ignored.
2) Short-sighted profit and greed are shaping governmental and corporate decisions, which will worsen socio-economic problems in the long run.
3) In the ensuing chaos, short-sighted interests often overturn or subvert laws meant to safeguard and protect us.
And yet, I am optimistic! Because I have had the honor to meet and to join the courageous, dedicated and visionary conservationists who are working, day after day, to protect and restore the quality of our air and water, and the critical ecosystems on which all life depends.

Eco Mystery Diamondback Terrapin
THE ADVENTURES OF THE SIZZLING SIX: OPERATION TERRAPIN RESCUE by Claire Datnow Illustrated by Ruth Palmer.
At this moment as the COVID-19 crisis continues, the anniversary of the BP oil spill passes almost unnoticed, and 50th Earth Day celebration takes place via digital media, we may well ask:
* What changes have these catastrophes set in motion that will repair broken systems to the benefit of humanity in the long run? One thing for sure, structural changes are on way.
* What can each one of us can do, no matter how small, to protect and conserve the Earth for future generations to come? I would love to hear from you, just email me: cldatnow@me.com