Here in south Mississippi and other areas along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, this on-going nightmare of gushing oil spewing unchecked into the waters of our very backyard is on nearly everyone's mind. It's especially hard-hitting to me, as a person who has kayaked and camped along hundreds of miles of this coast from Louisiana to Key West and sailed thousands of coastal and offshore miles upon these waters.
For awhile, I tried to keep hoping that the problem would be quickly resolved and fears of a worst-case scenario would prove unfounded. Now it's becoming more evident every day that this is a disaster of far greater magnitude than BP, the government and most of the media would have us believe. So just how bad is it, and how bad can it possibly get? What will the long-term effects be?
I've been asked by a couple of magazine editors that I write for to report on the impacts in my local area - along the Mississippi coast - and I wrote one early piece for SAIL magazine a couple of weeks ago when oil slicks were expected to wash ashore on Mississippi's pristine barrier islands. At that time the oil remained offshore though, and was pushed west by strong winds to where it is now inundating the fragile marshlands of south Louisiana. Here in the Mississippi area, it's too early to tell what's going to happen, but one thing's for sure, if the new efforts being made tonight and tomorrow fail to plug up the leaks, and some other successful solution doesn't come through soon after, life as we know it along the Gulf of Mexico could be changed forever.
A massive die-off of marine life is almost certain, what is uncertain is how far-reaching that die-off will be and how it will affect every other thing both natural and man-made along the shores of the Gulf. Some of the scenarios presented by the scientists that study such things are grim indeed. Survival Acres blog has been providing thoughts on these predictions and warnings and posting links to a variety of articles detailing them. Some of these may seem far-fetched, but then again, we are in unknown territory here with such an unprecedented event. Could something as unexpected as a massive oil well blowout like this precipitate a massive exodus from an entire region of the United States? To ponder some of these possibilities, check out this post and some of the embedded links: The Dead Zone