Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oil and Water

I don''t think anyone will find it surprising that I'm very focused on oil at the moment. Specifically, the oil pumping into the Gulf of Mexico threatening nesting seabirds, countless wildlife and in a lesser comparison, my own way of life.

I don't live on the water, but the water is central to my daily life. Every weekday, on my commute I cross the mouth of the Singing River and drive by the port of Pascagoula. I almost absentmindedly note which NOAA ships are tied up in port. I watch seagulls and the occasional osprey wheel over the parking lot of the library at lunch, just blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. On the weekends, I often take my kayak to the National Seashore Park or load the Hound Dawg in the car for a walk on Ocean Springs beach. The water and family are what brought me to the coast of Mississippi.

With these things in mind, I've watched this BP engineered crises unfold in horror. As a Master Naturalist, I'm terrified for the ramifications to nesting shore birds, migrating birds, our local fisheries, and a fragile ecosystem still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

I'm a pretty moderate person and I've never been able to generate the proper eco-worry generated angst toward offshore drilling that I've known is almost requisite for one concerned with and caring for the environment. I'm a pretty practical person and know that as we have a nation currently dependent on oil, then oil we must have and that means drilling somewhere. Sometimes, "somewhere" means in your own backyard.

However, in light of British Petroleum's cavalier and in my opinion reckless attitude about drilling a well to the depth of 18,000 feet 5,000 feet below the surface of the water without seemingly an even rudimentary contingency plan in case the unthinkable happened, I think my moderate position is changing. The Associated Press printed this statement about BP's plans:

"BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill - and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals - was unlikely, or virtually impossible.

The plan for theDeepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, said repeatedly that it was 'unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities.' "

In light of the "unlikely" now floating in on the tide, I'm not feeling in any way moderate. In fact, I'm gearing up to angry and as I've already stated, terrified. I'm worried for all those that depend on the health of the Gulf for their livelihoods, the shrimpers, fisherman, and tourism industry. I'm fearful for local wildlife. I'm concerned about my own way of life and I'm reminded again, that you can't mix oil and water.

A Photo Note: The above photo is from East Beach in Ocean Springs, taken in March of this year on a walk with the Hound Dawg.


  1. Bethany- I agree with you. I've been following it on Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN and I'm outraged at our blase' that BP seems to be on this entire situation.

    I saw them feeding a beautiful bird whose wings had been covered in oil Pepto Bismol on the chance that it had swallowed some of the oil and think of those who will be affected from the wildlife, the ecosystem and those who make a living by the fish, shrimp, oysters and other fish in the Gulf.

    I'm going to link this from my blog if that's ok, because I echo your sentiments.

  2. Wiz, I just know the wildlife images that come out of this will be heartbreaking. I certainly have no problems with a link.

  3. A terrible situation. And one that will continue to unfold over the next months and even years. The idea that this could dwarf the Exxon Valdez disaster is truly frightening. Ecologically this could be far worse than Katrina. Hurricanes are, at least, natural events and the ecosystem has millions of years of experience with them. Oil slicks of this magnitude are something that have only come about in the last fifty years or so.

  4. Watching this is worse than a horror movie. Its heartbreaking.

  5. Chiang Guy, I absolutely agree. One of the most frustrating aspects is that we must just wait and see what happens. There's not much to be done right now.

    O, I agree, a slow horror movie with lots of plot development.

  6. I know..that's like the banks(or AIG) saying
    "We're too big to fail"



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