BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil geyser got a lot of press last year…until the geyser was finally controlled, at which point the news coverage went elsewhere. Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico and the lands surrounding it, the disaster rolls on, unseen and ignored.
The Big Picture brought it back into the public eye in April, with a full spread of photos focusing on the aftereffects of the spill. (Note: some of the photos are before-and-after shots, fading from one to the other when clicked.) High numbers of sea turtles and dolphins are still washing up dead, barrier islands have been decimated, and sea birds are competing for the dying remains of their historical nesting sites. People and communities are suffering as well, with some fisheries all but destroyed and those who depend on them (markets, restaurants, processors) wondering how they will survive.
It’s not a cheery photo layout, but I do think it’s a necessary one. We need to be reminded that disasters like this don’t go away when the press coverage ends. We also need to be aware that everything in this layout is just the tip of the iceberg — the visible part. Beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the damage is so widespread that scientists don’t even know how to measure it. Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives has already passed three bills designed to accelerate and expand offshore drilling, one of which requires the Obama administration to sell three oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The leases had been cancelled after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but Big Oil would like to get back to business as usual.
(Photo from The Big Picture.)