Monday, June 7, 2010

En-Gulfed in Oil and Peril (Reply)

(Picture Left: A Mommy duck and family of newborn baby ducklings at Harlem Meer in Central Park. That the disaster in the Gulf occurred during the height of breeding season for most animals spells peril and doom for generations to come.)

Shellie Writes: Anyone who does not believe this is truly a tragedy is certainly misguided and seemingly wearing blinders. Do you like seafood? It may not be available in the future. How many species will ultimately face extinction? Even aquatic life that is "saved" may be unable to reproduce due to the petroleum. And if they are able to lay their eggs, the eggs quite possibly may not hatch due to shell defects from the oil. Not only birds, but sea mammals and reptiles will be affected. The ocean is not a contained system, like a swimming pool. Eventually the oil will be carried worldwide by ocean currents. Some oil will probably attach to water droplets that evaporate into the atmosphere, contaminating rainfall, which will in turn contaminate the soil, which in turn will contaminate the ground-water supply. Humans who consume oil-contaminated water face the possibility of liver failure, as the body can not process petroleum and eliminate it. The process is endless, and the repercussions of this will be felt by most, if not all species, worldwide for generations to come. This is truly a disaster of global proportions.

Reply: Thank you for sharing this vital information with us.

There is some evidence to suggest we are already over-fishing the waters and some species of fish (such as Blue Tuna) are in danger of extinction even without the oil spill. Moreover, much of the fish that is eaten is contaminated with mercury (also a result of oil drilling). And while consumption of products with mercury will not immediately kill a human, the cumulative health effects over time are extremely negative.

It is still unclear how BP was able to sidestep critical laws and allowed to drill in this environmentally sensitive area.

The area is home to a number of animals on the Endangered Species List, including several species of whales and turtles. As noted previously, the Brown Pelican was only removed from the Endangered Species List six months ago. That the disaster occurred during the breeding season when new chicks are born, means that the chances for this species of bird to "recover" from the oil spill are just about zero.

Moreover, thousands of migratory birds fly over the area, among them Terns and Frigates (also called, "Masters of the Skies."). But, because many of these birds dive down to fish in the waters, these birds are now also EN-GULFED in oil and peril. In some cases, unidentified and migratory birds have either been found dead on the beaches or required rescue.

One member of Congress (Vitter) has just called for a vamping up of animal rescue efforts on the Gulf. Again, this seems too little, too late. While we can only give praise to those workers (mostly hired by BP) who are tirelessly canvassing some of the waters and beaches to rescue oil-drenched birds and turtles, as well as those working to clean up and save those animals they can, the reality is they are way over their heads. One wonders why the major animal rescue and environmental organizations have so far, not been heard from on this critical situation? Is that due to the organizations themselves or laxity on the part of the administration to request or accept their help?

Personally, I feel the administration has been tragically slow and anemic in its response to this, as you rightly call it, "disaster of global proportions." Too much of the control and direction for "clean-up" and rescue has been left in the hands of BP -- the very ones responsible for the disaster in the first place.

There is no way to accurately predict the total devastation to the Gulf Coast and the planet from this catastrophe.

When one considers that most of the oil is flowing far beneath the surface of the waters, the ultimate and most significant damage is that we do not see. -- PCA


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