My Oily Gulf Coast

I’ve been holding back on writing my opinion of the oil spill.  I don’t really want this blog to be filled with opinion but I’ve been asked and do feel that maybe it’s time for one comment so here goes:

I’m devastated by this.  Our whole life here on the northern Gulf coast is changed.

Jobs are lost or in peril.  The spill has affected not just the people who work in tourism, or some kind of water related business but also inland businesses including  museums, restaurants and yes, professional and collegiate sports.  I read that a facility that hires mentally handicapped people to fold towels for the hotels along the coast is out of work…no tourists, no towels or linens to fold.  Tithing is down in some churches.  These are the people who help support those in need.  I’m sick over this.

BP has passed over local businesses to help out.  One job in particular is the cleaning of oily boats.  There’s a business right here on the coast that can do it.  It’s run by a family I know.  BP hired an Alaskan company to set up shop right next door.  I’m sick over this.

Marine life are dying.  Fish, mammals, bottom feeders, plants, algae, plankton and birds are all being victimized.  Pelicans, terns, gulls and other shore birds dive naturally for food.  They don’t know not to dive into a blob of oil.  They’re looking for food.  Sharks and whales, dolphins and the like are suffocating or slowing dying from the toxic mess in their systems.  Have you seen pictures of the Louisiana marshes?  The plants are dead.  You might still see a little bit of green on the tips but that will be gone soon.  Shrimp, crabs, fish, oysters…all were spawning during this oily time.  They’ll be dead or inedible for generations.  I’m sick over this.  I’ll be writing further about this in another post.

I know people that have left the area for a while because the smell was affecting them, causing headaches.  We’ve smelled it a few times at my house.  It’s a sickening smell.  It’s much different than the smell at the gas pump. 

Accidents happen, even those that can be or should have been prevented, but this has gone beyone an accident to me.  And, I don’t feel that the federal government really cares.   They’re too busy trying to wreck the country and I guess they feel this doesn’t need their intervention.  The damage is done, so they’re running around the country trying to finish wrecking the other things they’ve been working on: banking, parental rights, health care.  They should be here actively getting this under control rather than leaving it in the hands of BP.  Isn’t the role of government to protect and defend it’s citizens? 

I’m really sick over this.  I love my Gulf Coast.  It is home to me and lots of great people and waking up every day to find out that nothing has changed regarding the spill (except that there is more oil in the water) just leaves me with a sick feeling about our future.   Our businesses, eco-system, lifestyles are all under attack and I don’t know if I’ll ever see this area back to normal.

After we had moved here last year from Sarasota we explored a little but were too busy to enjoy the beach.  The winter proved too cold to go down there so we haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as we expected.  This was the year we made a vow to go as often as possible.  I was even working on an Eco-tour business and had planned to take the Coastal Nature Guide certification class given by the Miss/Al Sea Grant Consortium through the Orange Beach Visitors Bureau.  After a few trips to Gulf Shores, the oil began spilling.  So instead, we got a YMCA membership so we could swim and I’m teaching art classes in my home.   The surf board and beach towels are put away.

I pray daily that this doesn’t go any farther along the coast but the “experts” are predicting it will be in the Keys soon and maybe Miami. 

Pray for our Gulf Coast.