April 24, 2011
But as Rocky Kistner of NRDC points out, there is a ‘Parallel Universe’ phenomenon going on at Grand Isle.
On one hand, there is incredible degradationof the previously powdery sand beaches – most of which is now completely compacted by heavy equipment from cleanup operations. It’s now as hardas pavement. And where it’s not as hard as a rock, your shoes stickin oily gooey muck as you walk. Tar balls litter the beach ranging from almost powder sizedto the size of a large hamburger. When you look out to the Gulf, the waves are opaque and dark brown ~ not clear and blue. And it doesn’t smell one bit like the ocean.
But then you realize that up and down the beach, there arefamilies doing what they have always done. Kids building sandcastles andfrolicking in the waves, in many instances stepping over large rotting redfish or catfish to reach the water’s edge. I cannot help but wonder –“What are these people thinking?”… and “What health problems will they haveahead of them now?”
Rocky Kistner reported that earlier that day, “Auniformed park ranger packing a 9 mm pistol and a broad-brimmed hat marchedthrough the sand towards us, clearly on a mission. “Excuse me but everyone hereneeds to get off the beach,” he barked. “This beach is closed.” This, due to tar balls and tar mats that continue to coat the previously sandy beach.
Later in the day when I arrived, families with their beach chairs & umbrellas dotted the beach and not one officer was present. And no warning signs wereposted whatsoever.
|Karen Hopkins, Jessica Hagan, Darlene Eschete|
Beyond this, it is puzzling how parents can be so unaware of the potential hazards in this water that they would allow their kids near it atall. Unfortunately it may be the children who will pay the dearest price, asthey receive a much greater dose of toxins due to their size than the adults. I question how so many Americans can bury theirheads in this oily sand.
We as Americans are in denial about just how bad this environmental disaster really is. And shame on us as a people for continuing to delay in moving toward alternative energy and to change our lifestyles to lessen our dependence on petroleum. We’re going to pay a heavy price, but the heaviest price, I am afraid will be paid by future generations long after we are gone.
|Grand Isle Documentarian Betty Doud|
Those businesses that have not closed since my last visit, are barely holding on. Last summer, The Subway, the bars & even the gift shops still had the BP cleanup crews to bring in business. Today there is only a fraction of the number of workers from last summer. Although there are some tourists here, the fishing charter boats are largely without work.
I was surprised to see shrimp trawlers maneuvering in the current by the Route 1 Bridge into Caminada Bay. The water around the boats was black. I wondered if these boats were using TEDs, or Turtle Extrusion Devices, to prevent endangered sea turtles from being drowned in their nets. The situation for the fishermen in the Gulf is serious. There simply are no easy answers to the dilemmas facing the population of the Delta.
|And a final word from Mac MacKenzie|
April 18 – 28, 2011
One year after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster began, just a few days of walks on Gulf beaches from Grand Isle to Biloxi, Mississippi produce a haunting set of photographs showing just how deep the toll on marine life has been from the worst environmental disaster in American history. Walk with me and take a few minutes to think about the fate of the Gulf of Mexico. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
On May 12th, Dr. Earle addressed a crowd of more than 500 at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis as the final speaker in the Institute on the Environment’s groundbreaking Momentum 2011 event series.
To say that her talk was inspirational would be an understatement. With lyrical words and stunning underwater images, Sylvia took us on an expedition from the deepest ocean to our neighboring planets, bringing into sharp focus what the future may hold. She conveyed not only her passion for what she calls “the blue heart of the planet,” but also her conviction that we must – and can – still rescue it from the overfishing, climate change and other onslaughts it faces today.
With the message that the next 10 years on earth will be the most important in the next 10,000, Sylvia invites us again to participate in her TED wish, “I wish you would use all means at your disposal — films! expeditions! the web! more! — to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”
Click here for a video of highlights, Sylvia’s full speech is below.