Henry J. Tillman’s quote “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate,” addresses one of the biggest issues in society today. Focusing on issues rather than working towards a solution has and will continue to hinder growth and development. News articles and social media posts and conversations surrounding hot topics are always focusing on why something went wrong rather than how it can be fixed or prevented in the future.

I was 12 when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico. I remember learning about it in my 6th grade science class – we had current event assignments each week and every single one of my classmates chose various articles on the oil spill. We learned about the devastating details of the spill, specifically the disastrous effects it would have on ecosystems in and around the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill lasted well into the summer and I remember hearing updates about it everyday. What I found to be most difficult was the fact that most articles seemed to leave out the most important information: “how can this be prevented?” I was so discouraged because I felt like there was no way of preventing future oil spills and I felt like this one would go on forever.

I find that today when politics are discussed or wars are discussed the main question being answered is “how bad is it?” I think the questions being asked should be “why did this happen and how can we make sure not to make the same mistake?” We need to talk about solving issues to be able to work together to find solutions. I say this thinking of my 12 year old self who went home so pessimistic about the world because she felt like there was no way of solving the oil spill. Those who focus on the negative are part of the problem because they speak only negativity which on serves to stall growth and development.