Have you forgotten about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Did you take notice?
I know, it’s been six weeks since it started and without anyone being voted off the oil rig or the most eligible BP oil executive bachelor or bachelorette not selecting their new partner, why bother? Just tune in for the finale.
Here’s the catch – the finale for this oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico will be far from pretty and wrapped up in a nice little bow, to consume, compartmentalized around the Monday morning water cooler and then forgotten.
Six weeks ago an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico triggered this environmental tragedy. The rig had been drilling beneath about 5,000 feet (1,525 metres) of water and 13,000 feet (4 km) under the seabed.
Over 5,000 barrels of oil a day was being pumped out into the water according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), though BP initially estimated only around 1,000..what’s a few 1,000 barrels among friends, BP probably surmised. Here is a timeline of the oil spill courtesy of Reuters.
The threat to the Gulf’s environment and fishery industry is immense. Heart wrenching photos and accounts of wildlife killed by this tragedy have steadily flowed into the public realm. This particular photo essay was striking and depressing. Birds, fish, reptiles, fragile coastlines and beach… this oil spill has choked and coated many indiscriminately.Follow NOAA’s efforts and reporting on the crisis, an excellent resource.
Canadians need to pay attention because as Arctic nations line up at the Northwest Passage trough, the possibility of an environmental calamity in our northern reaches, courtesy of oil, becomes a reality.
With climate change shrinking the ice sheet in the north, more nations eye the Northwest Passage, also know as the “Arctic Grail”, as a gold mine for resource transport, commercial shipping and natural resource exploration. Our confidence and reliance on technology, just like in the Gulf of Mexico, will raise expectations, meaning no seabed will be off-limits and no waters will be unnavigable.
“Canadians should be alarmed..and any shipping involves the risk of accidents, particularly in remote and icy waters,” said Michael Byers, UBC international law expert, in a speech to the Vancouver Institute reported in The Tyee. “An oil spill would cause catastrophic damage to fragile Arctic ecosystems; a cruise ship in distress would require an expensive and possibly dangerous rescue mission. Any new fishery will be highly susceptible to over-exploitation, particularly because of the difficult-to-police location…”
Latest estimates are that the leaking BP oil tap in the Gulf will finally be under control by late August. It is hard to expect this will be the last of such disasters on our planet. The more we push technology and frontiers and the more greed we feed, whether corporate or our own consumer consumption, the blame will never be too hard to determine…the hard part, which always remains, is never allowing it to happen again.