What is the Oil Spill Doing to Flipper?



Diving3 On a recent trip to Australia, I had the good fortune to spend a day scuba diving and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. From above, the water appeared blue, calm, and seemingly empty. But as soon as I dipped below the surface, I was amazed. As far as the eye could see, the underwater world teemed with animals. Schools of clown fish (think Nemo) zipped past exotic 30-foot tall coral reefs. Groups of wrasse, a fish that's bigger than my 70-pound dog, swam by, their huge faces oblivious to the giant green sea turtle snoozing on the sea floor just below. Angel fish nibbled on small invertebrates; nearby, gorgeous parrot fish gnawed at the algae growing on the coral. There weren't just dozens or hundreds of animals under the sea; I could see thousands, and that was just in the small area where I was diving. What about the rest of the ocean?

I am thinking about all that wildlife now, as the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues seemingly without end. The people whose lives are being affected by the millions of barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf's waters deserve as much attention as they're getting. They've lost their livelihoods, their neighborhoods, and in some cases, their very lives.

Dolphins-film-u2 But the animals trying to survive in the water are in some ways even more vulnerable. They have nowhere else to go, and for the most part, no way to remove the oil once it gets on their bodies. At least 25,000 animals appear to have died from the oil spill thus far, including dolphins and sperm whales. Many other fish, like bluefin tuna, are at risk because they're in the process of returning to their breeding grounds right now – and those breeding grounds happen to lie smack dab in the middle of the oil spill disaster zone. It is not an exaggeration to wonder whether some animals will become extinct as a result of the spill.

Take a look at this list of "The Ten Cutest Animals" threatened by the spill. Sadly, there's not much we can do to help them in the short-term. Long-term, we must renew our commitment to kick our addiction to oil in favor of safe, clean renewable fuels.

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10 Responses to What is the Oil Spill Doing to Flipper?

  1. RecycleBill June 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    And it has only just begun…. I’ve been boycotting Exxon and Exxon-Mobile since the wreck of the Valdez– now I’ve added BP to my list.

  2. tracy wilton June 11, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    i agree this whole thing is so sad and getting so out of control. i am on the verge of getting rid of my car because of it. i just don’t see any other way to legitimately protest.

  3. Diane MacEachern June 14, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I think we all need to reflect on our lifestyles and figure out where we can use less oil. Do we all need cars? Especially with options like carpooling and Zip Cars? Maybe not.

  4. Diane MacEachern June 14, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    I know many people think a boycott is the answer…but really the answer is to stop using oil. Bike, walk, carpool, telecommute…if we want a change in oil policy, it has to start with using less oil.

  5. NicoleS June 18, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    Soo heartbreaking. The oil is apparently around 160 degrees. As birds land in it they go into shock. We also need to stop consuming so much and raise our voices when we see excess, whether it’s a store wrapping purchases in tissue paper or a government vehicle sitting idling while not providing a direct service at the time. (I’ve asked 3 fire trucks to turn off their engines while at community events or conducting fundraisers where the truck wasn’t in functional use.) Raising our voices will spread the consciousness and address some immediate ways to reduce. Not to mention it will make it clear that these kinds of considerations aren’t just for the “nutty” greenies/environmentalists.

  6. Diane MacEachern June 21, 2010 at 7:15 am #

    Yes, I’m with you there. Let’s hope they can adapt quickly enough to survive.

  7. Diane MacEachern June 21, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    I didn’t know that about the oil temperature. I, too, ask drivers of idling trucks to turn off the engines. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but they sure get the message from me that I think idling wastes gas and pollutes the air.

  8. Green Business October 4, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Very bad News that 25,000 animals appear to have died from the oil spill

  9. Telecommuting blogger January 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Totally agree with you Diane… if we want to see a change in oil policy, it has to start with using less oil. Telecommuting is likely to double in popularity over the next five years. And a number of state and city governments have already established organizations to support telework initiatives in the private sector.

  10. Diane MacEachern January 31, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    I was happy to hear Pres. Obama support developing light rail systems in his State of the Union. I hope we can find the budget to get those going. Thanks for writing.

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