Category Archives: environment

Scientists vs. Locals – The Health of the Gulf

Scientists say, according to a recent news story, that the health of the Gulf of Mexico is nearly at pre-spill levels. Although the Gulf did get the heroic efforts of thousands, equal to the labors of Hercules in the Augean Stables, it does speak to how lucky we might be if our Earth is so resilient. I was thinking we had done something so catastrophic that our planet would suffer permanent damage and yet somehow we may be able to limp back. Perhaps the waters will not be quite as pristine as before the BP spill, perhaps the critters that live in the sea will be toxic for a while or will suffer extinction or mutation. Perhaps the margins of the gulf, the shallows where the birds live will exhibit signs that all is not well at some future time. CNN reported that the Gulf bounce-back earned a score of 68 out of 100. In high school this was barely passing.

On the evening news reporters were back in Louisiana because it is one year since the spill first occurred. The residents of Louisiana were not nearly as positive about conditions as the scientists were in the morning news. Residents interviewed said that oil still washes up on all the barrier islands; they showed what happens if you dig down into the sand where just beneath the surface bands of oil are clearly visible. The toll on local families has been great and the fishing businesses are nowhere near back to normal.

This was an oil spill of 200 million gallons of oil over a period of 85 days. It seems impossible to believe we could come back from this event this quickly. I am holding on to some disbelief, especially after listening to local people, but I am willing, given better evidence than I have currently seen, to be convinced that a full recovery is possible and will happen sooner rather than later. One does wonder how many more events of this magnitude can our planet endure?