Stranded spinner dolphin.: Credit: qnr via Flickr. The latest NOAA report on unusual strandings of whales and dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico finds they’re still dying at twice the normal rate 18 months after BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Map of strandings in relation to Deepwater Horizon well. Credit: NOAA.
As you can see in the map above, the most heavily oiled shoreline still corresponds with the most dead whales and dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins are shown as circles and other species as squares. Premature, stillborn, or neonatal bottlenose dolphins (with actual or estimated lengths of less than 115 cm/45 inches) are shown as a circle with a black dot inside. Pink points mark the most recent week of data. Green points mark are all other cases since 1 January 2011.
All stranded cetaceans (dolphins and whales) from Franklin County, FL to the Texas/ Louisiana border.: Credit: NOAA.
Here you can see how the numbers of strandings have not yet stabilized or even begun to decline. In some cases they’re still growing. The magenta-colored bars mark strandings per month in the year 2010. The ivory-colored bars mark strandings per month so far this year.
In my Mother Jones article The BP Cover-Up last year, I wrote about the kind of long-term problems the Gulf might face not just from oil but from extreme quantities of oil in very deep water, as well as from chemical dispersant, including dispersant injected into very deep water.
Sadly, it seems that cetaceans—past, present, and future—may be bearing some of those burdens.
More than 40 CRCL volunteers gathered at Port Fourchon on Saturday, Sept. 24 to celebrate National Estuaries Day. In just six hours, our volunteer crew planted 2,500 mangrove trees!
This project was a joint effort between Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the Edward Wisner Foundation, and is a part of CRCL and NWF’s ongoing mission of restoring and protecting areas of coastal Louisiana continuing to be impacted by the ongoing oil related disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The project also celebrated National Estuaries Day, a nationwide day of service which highlights the vibrant habitats within our nation’s wetlands.
The 2,500 mangroves planted at Port Fourchon on National Estuaries Day will provide essential protection for inland communities and create fish and wildlife habitat. ”Over the last ten years, CRCL has engaged more than 7,000 volunteers and restored approximately 3,600 acres of wetlands.” said Hilary Collis, Coastal Restoration Coordinator for CRCL. ‘Through our project partners like National Wildlife Federation, and the Edward Wisner Foundation, we are able to coordinate volunteers and teach them about the importance of restoring Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.”
We’re looking for people across the world who would like to organize local gatherings on June 25th to speak out against offshore oil drilling and stand up for clean energy. Click HERE to learn how and where you can get involved – there may be an event planned in your area already!
Join me at Rodeo Beach, CA right next to where The Marine Mammal Center will be having the Grand Opening of “Washed Ashore: Sea life & Art”, which will be going on from 10AM to 5PM. ‘Washed Ashore’ is the vision of artist and educator Angela Haseltine Pozzi. This community art project from Bandon, Oregon has turned the ugly reality of ocean trash into beautiful sculptures of the marine life we strive to save, inspiring us all to re-think our use of plastics and change our habits. You’ll find 15 massive marine life sculptures at the Washed Ashore: plastics, sea life and art exhibit at The Marine Mammal Center from June 25 – October 15, 2011. Hope to see you at both of these events – come on out to the Marin Headlands and make a day of it with the whole family. If you can do a You Tube video of your event, you can upload it to their website Hands Across the Sand and share it with the across the world!
A Message from Founder, Dave Rauschkolb
Welcome! Thank you for joining hands with us!
On June 25 at 12:00 in your time zone people of the world will have an opportunity to join hands and draw a line in the sand against expanding offshore oil drilling and championing clean energy for a sustainable planet. This event will happen on beaches and in cities across the world.
Hands Across The Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses all borders and political affiliations. This movement is not about politics; it is about the protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife and fisheries. The accidents that continue to happen in offshore oil drilling are a threat to all of the above. Expanding offshore oil drilling is not the answer, embracing Clean Energy is.
This movement is about embracing energy sources that will sustain our planet. Oil and Coal are the largest polluters on the Earth threatening the quality of air we breathe, the water that we drink and the food that nourishes us.
We are joining hands to say NO to offshore oil drilling and Yes to Clean Energy. We are joining hands to end our dependence on oil and coal and embrace a clean energy future for a sustainable planet. Safe food, clean water & clean air are the essential fundamental elements of our survival as a species. Offshore oil spills, the burning of fossil fuels and coal burning power plants present a threat to all of the above.
Growing and nurturing a clean energy policy on a global scale is the path to fresh job growth, a sustainable global economic future and a more stable geo-political future. Our dependence on fossil fuels in the long term is unsustainable and the global conflicts created acquiring these fuels will continue to have a devastating, destabilizing effect on world politics.
The environmental damage associated with acquiring, refining and continuing to burn fossil fuels virtually guarantees a planet poisoned with dirty air, dirty water and unhealthy food. Fossil fuels will continue to play a major role but clean energy must begin to replace that role and restore a future for all of us and for future generations.
Our lives are too short to comprehend our complicity in the slow death we are inflicting on the earth. We must connect with generations past, generations present and generations future and weave a thread of balance and wisdom for our planet. Forget borders, forget the elements that separate us. We have done our damage, we now have the power to undo and together, join hands and build a clean energy path that sustains us all. There is no more important issue we must focus on as humans.
The Cal Academy of Science was packed on Thursday night with an estimated 2,400 people who came to celebrate sea turtles on World Sea Turtle Day. They came to enjoy demonstrations, interactive exhibits and an amazing show using the Planetarium’s dome showing how these gentle and endangered creatures migrate thousands of miles across the vast ocean as they travel from their nesting beaches to faraway foraging grounds. The evening won’t soon be forgotten, it was pure blue magic.
Staff & volunteers from The Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Spawn, and Got Mercury.org, along with supporters from Sea Stewards and The Center for Biological Diversity transformed African Hall into a teaching hospital about everything from ‘what does a turtle egg look like’ to international threats such as commercial fisheries, poaching and big oil interests. On the central piazza stage was a model of a TED (Turtle Extruder Device) required by Federal Law to be installed on commercial shrimping boats to give sea turtles an escape hatch from their nets to avoid drowning. It was clear that many were surprised to learn about the consequences to marine life caused by their appetite for seafood, especially shrimp.
Scott Benson from NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s leatherback turtle program took us on a grand tour across the Pacific using the biggest computer monitor at the Cal Academy of Science – the planetarium’s dome itself – to demonstrate the incomprehensibly large distances covered by these turtles as they migrate from Indonesia & Papua New Guinea to Northern California, Oregon & Washington in search of their favorite eats, the Brown Sea Nettle. Little did the audience know that just 20 minutes before the show, there had been a malfunction in the dome. No problema, the CAS geniuses crossed a few wires and fixed it in plenty of time for the World Turtle Day Presentation.
Sadly this year has been a tough one for sea turtles. Between the Deepwater Horizon Disaster and an international community that still doesn’t ‘get it’ about how many ways we compromise wildlife, it’s been hard for endangered turtles to rebound. All we can hope is that by continuing to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and educating the public, life will get better for our sea turtle friends in years to come.
With $20 billion in profits for 2010, and in the face of rising gas prices contributing to crippling worldwide inflation, oil giant Chevron met with opposition Wednesday as activists from across the globe converged at their world headquarters to give shareholders and executives a reality check about the ‘True Cost of Chevron’.
Issues ranged from the massive contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon to human rights abuse in Burma and elsewhere. They have already been found guilty in Ecuadorian Court of having caused pollution in the Amazon at a devastating level, but Chevron’s lawyers continue to appeal and refuse to take responsibility for their devastating environmental policies. As one Chevron executive states, “It sure doesn’t look good, Chevron vs. the Amazon villages”.
Earlier this week, advocates from the Rainforest Action Network in Northern California unfurled a 50’ banner on the lower deck of the Richmond Bridge blasting Chevron for it’s toxic legacy in the Amazon.
Representatives from Ecuador, Angola, Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines, The Tar Sands region of Canada, Alaska, the Kimberly Region of Australia, Burma, and locals from Richmond, CA gathered to let Chevron shareholders hear about the true cost of maintaining our addiction to Chevron’s oil. The folks from the Turtle Island Restoration Network were even there to represent the oceans and it’s creatures who cannot speak for themselves.
After being banned from last year’s meeting in Houston, 22 speakers were at last able to address shareholders from the podium. It was heartbreaking to hear stories of entire families lost to cancer, to see the tears and suffering first hand. But Chevron has not yet agreed to pay the fines in Ecuador, and it continues to make plans to expand its oil ventures to other ecologically and culturally delicate areas.
These activists will not back down until their voices are heard and their grievances addressed. As Antonia Juhasz from The Global Network states, “we will continue to work to fundamentally transform and restrict the way Chevron does business until we no longer need it’s operations at all.”
For me, having spent most of this past year focused on the mess that we have created in the Gulf of Mexico, today was a huge wakeup call. I saw stark evidence of worldwide human rights violations, ‘pollute and run’ tactics, and multiple levels of environmental devastation far beyond what I previously knew about. If you’d like to learn more about the havoc that Chevron has brought to the four corners of the globe, follow the links below.