2010-06-10 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

But What About The People And The Wildlife?
By Charles Rogers
We all know what the explosion and subsequent spill from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig has been doing to the people of Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and, now, western Florida and to the vegetation and other resources. Our hearts have to go out to them, especially after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina that devastated them so badly physically and spiritually.

We have to give them credit, though, because of their huge hearts and guts that enabled them to swing right back to life and rebuild after Katrina struck them head-on five years ago. They must first be brave and then be bold enough to shoulder what is being done to their shoreline and their marshes and, especially their wildlife.

Imagine surveying the destruction of the hurricane, with winds at 120-140 miles per hour and worse, striking the homes of these poor people, with rain soaking them to their very bones and watching everything they have lived for being destroyed before them. Yes, they’ve survived other storms; some even worse (or almost as bad) than Katrina, but not hitting quite so hard. This one, however, was a death blow, but the residents of New Orleans were able to get out of the mounds of mud and debris and, laboriously, somehow go on. Their lives were changed, but they clung to whatever they could and prayed to their God to help them through.

And now this! It’s as if a plague has come upon them; like a story from the Old Testament trying to scold them for whatever wrongs they’d done.

Although we have seen some pictures of dying, oil-soaked pelicans and dolphins and sea turtles in newspapers and a few periodicals here and there, we haven’t seen enough. The media is falling down on this part of the story, as if the danger — the ultimate danger here — is not the ecology. How can anyone not recognize the devastation and, yes, destruction of living things there under the sea and beneath their boats.

Since the explosion on April 20th, more than 800 birds, including pelicans, sea gulls and some of the most exotic species have been killed, not to mention the dolphins and endangered sperm whales. Of course, we aren’t too privy to word of the millions of shrimp and crabs. They’re living things too — or had we forgotten that?

The latest word is that, although some progress has been made within the last few days on capping the flow of oil, we can’t expect anything fully tangible on when it will be completely stopped until, maybe, autum. And, although our government experts are telling the residents of the stricken areas to “hang in there!” we all know — don’t fool yourself or be fooled — the relief won’t start coming until far, far beyond that.

We know that BP and the others — including the U.S. government — are trying to stem the flow. They’ve been trying since the explosion that started it all, killing eleven of BP’s workers, occurred on April 20th. That’s 51 days ago.

Hang in there! Yeah, right.

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