Saturday, May 1, 2010
As I sit in my room and watch the countless news channels report on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I am nearly reduced to tears. This area has seen so much devastation within the last few years, and I'm afraid it cannot take much more. The community is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The city library, community center, and volunteer fire house was just re-built within the last 6 months, there are still buildings and houses that have yet to be demolished, and people are still dealing with the psychological effects of such a disaster. Now to add to all of that, not only have 11 families lost their loved ones in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on March 20, 2010, but the entire Louisiana coast is left to face the ramifications of such a large scale spill. The Coast Guard has estimated that 5,000 barrels or 200,000 gallons are leaking from the wellhead every day, while independent scientists have calculated nearly 25,000 barrels per day, significantly dwarfing the original estimates. While BP is furiously attempting to shutoff the valve, as well as initiate oil clean-up, an oil slick the size of Jamaica is slowly making its way into the delicate marshes of Plaquemines Parish, threatening hundreds of thousands of animals, including the seafood and fish many people's livelihood depends on and the once endangered Brown Pelican endemic to this area. As of now, the situation seems to be unrelenting as the southern winds push the oil directly to the coast of Louisiana, making it nearly impossible to contain or burn off the sheen. This is yet another sad and trying time for the community and nation as a whole. As the resilient people of Louisiana have learned through the Katrina devastation, we can only take it one step at a time, keep our heads up high, and push forward. We must put all our efforts into protecting and cleaning up our marshes to give back to the community that has given so much to us. For volunteer information visit http://www.crcl.org/coalitionprograms/oilspillrecovery.html.