BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

If You’re Not Outraged, You Should Be

Posted by egehl on May 27, 2010

Today citizens of Louisiana stood in collective prayer and hope that the top kill BP is using to stop the oil spill will work.  Regardless of what happens, thousands of gallons of oil has already gushed from the sea floor and enormous damage has occurred.  This man-made catastrophe will have long lasting environmental, ecological, health and social impacts on Louisiana and the rest of the nation. We are in the midst of an environmental Katrina. 

If you don’t live in or near the Gulf Coast, think this oil spill doesn’t impact you?  Think again.

Do you like seafood? Annually commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico produces over 1.29 billion pounds of fish and shellfish with a dockside value of over $659 million. Additionally, 3.2 million individuals travel to the Gulf Coast each year to participate in recreational fishing.  All of this is at risk of being severely compromised, and aspects of it extinguished for good. 

Do you live in Florida or along the Atlantic Coast? Scientists are increasingly worried that spilled oil from the Gulf of Mexico may get sucked into the Gulf Stream and make its way up the Atlantic coast.  It is unlikely that any oil would reach shore and spoil beaches, however offshore fishing and sea turtle migration off the coast of Atlantic states would likely suffer.

Do you drive a car?  Well, thanks to the Gulf Coast you can put gas in your car.  My state is bearing the brunt of having the oil and gas industry dredge near our coastline and pipelines built through our marshes so that we can provide energy to the rest of the country.  No doubt as a nation we are overly reliant on oil and that will not stop anytime soon.  We will continue drilling off shore but at what cost to our environment and people living along the coast?  This disaster will change how we think about energy and our dependency on oil.  And spur more thinking and demand around the exploration and use of renewable energy alternatives. 

Do you care about animals? We will never know the extent of damage this oil spill has had on our wildlife and thousands of animals both big and small that are vital to our fragile food chain.  Already sea turtles, pelicans, dolphins, crabs and many other types of animals have been killed or hurt, and there will be no way to fully know the extent of this disaster because many animals that die will sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. 

Do you live in the path of a hurricane?  Louisiana marshes and wetlands are vital to stopping continued land loss and protecting the region from increasingly deadly climate related hazards like hurricanes and flooding.  The marshes and the ecosystems they support are dying and that will have far reaching impacts.  Wetlands serve as an important barrier to hurricanes and weaken storms so they cause less damage in areas of the country north of the Gulf Coast. 

Do you appreciate food safety?  Communities along the Gulf of Mexico are deeply concerned about the toxicity of dispersants and the potential impacts of both oil and dispersants on families, communities and fisheries. The potential impacts of chronic and acute exposure to seafood and humans remain unknown, while data available to communities is insufficient.  Compromised seafood will impact restaurants nationwide.

Do you appreciate culture?  Louisiana has an important and unique culture that must be protected.  It’s important to our nation’s heritage.  Millions travel to the Gulf Coast each year investing more than $100 billion across the region. Visitors come for the pristine beaches, fresh seafood and unique coastal culture that are now all at risk as a result of the oil spill. Across the region, the economic well-being of communities reliant on providing services to maritime and tourism industries are under immediate threat.

Pay attention.  Speak up.  Donate to one of the many nonprofits doing good work.   Volunteer.  Share information.  Don’t be complacent and think this is some disaster happening far away. 

If you would like to get involved please visit one of these resources:

To volunteer: http://www.volunteerlouisiana.gov/

To donate: http://www.gnof.org/gulf-coast-oil-spill-fund/disaster-on-the-gulf-coast//

To see citizen accounts of what’s happening check out this oil crisis map:  http://www.labucketbrigade.org/

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3 Responses to “If You’re Not Outraged, You Should Be”

  1. Julie D. said

    Great blog, E. It’s important to point out how this situation affects everyone, not just those who live on the Gulf Coast. I’m truly sickened by the whole thing.

  2. Deb Rox said

    Well said. This affects everyone. The photos and videos are hard to look at, but I hope people don’t turn away, thinking it doesn’t affect them. The losses are massive. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. ThePeachy1 said

    Thank you for this post about the Gulf… Living on the coast it’s really hard right now worrying and waiting. I had someone ask me what the big deal was, it was out in the water and they would have it cleaned up in no time, was it really a big deal.. How can you explain to people who can’t see the bigger picture.. I will send them to your blog.

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