sábado, 21 de abril de 2012

Two Years Too Late: A tour of Southern Louisiana on the 2nd Anniversary of the BP Oil Spill

Nearly two years ago, on the 20th of April, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, killing 11 and resulting in the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. As the gusher flowed unabated for three months, my friends and I, safely in New Orleans, some 130 miles from ground zero, looked on in horror and with a feeling of utter helplessness, as some 5 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Like a dilating blob out of a sci-fi flick, it spread with a melanizing effervescence, threatening to devour everything within its path - the "dead zone" encompassed an area more than 80 square miles. The science that had enabled the oil industry to drill 5,000 ft below the sea and an additional 18,000 ft below its surface, had proved a pandora's box - tantamount clean up technology has of yet to be developed. Instead, they shot at BP's shadowy monster with likewise monstrous chemical dispersants, over 200,000 gallons of it, causing tentacles of crude oil to moleculize into a scattering of noxious particles that rode the crests of waves toward our shores. Out of sight out of mind seemed to be their intention. However, the well was still leaking and large plumes of crude oil that had escaped the dispersants were discovered far below the ocean's surface. The combined efforts of the coast guard, local parishes and BP to protect our coastlines, employing containment booms, anchor barriers and sand-filled barricades, was nonetheless far too little too late for the enormity of this spill. Our wetland grasses, estuaries, and fishing grounds were left vulnerable. As the tally of poisoned coastline grew, the tourist and fishing industry came to a standstill with no immediate end in sight. The new year came and went and the amount quarantined coast continued to grow despite the supposed capping and drainage of the well. In October, news sources reported that the corpses of dolphins and whales were still washing up on our shores in record numbers. And here we are now, approaching the 2nd anniversary of the BP Oil Spill and everywhere is silence. New Orleans has much returned to "normal". Nobody's talking about it. Everyone's eating seafood from the gulf without the slightest concern. Has the biodiverse ecosystem of Southern Louisiana really recovered or has everyone already forgotten?

We can't remain silent! Last summer I was in Japan working on an illustrated blog about the Nuclear blowout there. My friend Wiley had likewise returned to New Orleans with a newfound passion for making movies. We decided to combine efforts. We would ride our bikes to Southern Louisiana for the second anniversary of the BP Oil Spill. He would make a movie. I'd make my illustrated blog. Together, we'd make sure that no one in our network would forget that the oil spill happened and that above all, it's not over!

1 comentario:

  1. Hey bro, great meeting you the other day. Here are 2 powerpoints given at the Deepwater horizon report conference http://www.nicholls.edu/news/2012/04/20/nicholls-hosts-oil-spill-conference/ . I still haven't found the videos yet, but they exist! Enjoy the rest of your trip down bayou!