A Florida beach, oil and thoughts on the future

South beach of Boca Grande -- taken just before we left and a few more people had arrived.
South beach of Boca Grande -- taken just before we left and a few more people had arrived.
Don't you wish?
Don't you wish?
Pristine white sand and blue-green water -- lovely -- for now.
Pristine white sand and blue-green water -- lovely -- for now.
Glorious, and it's my camera angle makes the shallows look so long.
Glorious, and it's my camera angle makes the shallows look so long.
Look at this picture. Now close your eyes and imagine pools of stinking crude on this. Make you sick?
Look at this picture. Now close your eyes and imagine pools of stinking crude on this. Make you sick?
Florida protects sea turtle nesting sites, like this grassy patch. So far naturalists have counted a least 300 dead sea turtles, so all efforts to save this endangered species are being undone.
Florida protects sea turtle nesting sites, like this grassy patch. So far naturalists have counted a least 300 dead sea turtles, so all efforts to save this endangered species are being undone.
Please, God -- protect this special place.
Please, God -- protect this special place.

The beauty of the Gulf

I last visited Boca Grande’s south beach two weeks ago, arriving early in the morning to beat the heat, and to enjoy the heightened surf of the incoming tide.

A more beautiful morning never existed. My friend’s and my arrival made four people on that seemingly endless stretch of sand, not that unusual for this time of year but still a symptom of the times. The others were also women, so we were four middle-aged (or beyond) women enjoying nature’s glory.

My friend is a sun worshiper, and opted to stay in the shelter of our umbrella, strategically placing her legs where they’d catch the most rays, while I entered the green-blue brine. The waves rolled in with the half-hearted force of the Gulf’s tides, and the water shifted from mid calf to waist as I waded against the currents, shuffling my feet in the sand – in case of sting rays; it was their nesting season. It didn’t take many steps to find myself lifted off my feet with each surge and deposited back to a depth just under my chin.

The water was the same temperature as the blood in my veins, soft, warm and alive. I bobbed up and down, turned this way and that with the rolls, now staring out into the water and then, facing the beach. I raised my hand and waved to my friend, who being a non-swimmer watched me with visible concern.

Suddenly, I realized I was not alone. All around me, thousands of tiny little silver fish swarmed, kissing at my skin, an unbelievable number of fish. I swam twenty feet off to one side to leave the school, but there they were. It wasn’t a school; it was a population of millions, everywhere. I settled down to share the water; after all, it was theirs. And besides, there was no choice.

Though the thought of feeding sharks did enter my mind.

“Hey, there,” said a soft, southern voice.

I turned to see one of the other women had joined me, a plump, fiftyish gal, her grey-blond hair tied up in a knot on the top of her head, and she floated in a tube, kicking her feet to come closer.

“Look at all these fish,” I exclaimed, excited, a prairie dweller as thrilled as a small child in this alien environ.

“Yeah,” she drawled. “It’s the season for ‘em.” She disappeared from view for a moment, as a wave lifted her tube up and dropped me down at the same time. “So, where you from?” she asked once we regained the same level. “Your accent …”

“Canadian.”

“I love Canadians,” she assured me. “We haven’t seen too many this year. We run a fishing boat, but …” She left the sentence unfinished. “My husband’s out today – see?” She pointed toward the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, where a small flotilla of boats rocked up and down, tiny bathtub toys in the distance. “Tarpon season and the tournament’s on. Small entry this year. Could be the last; who knows.”

“You’re from here?”

“Yep, I’m a cracker,” she announced with pride.

Wow, a native born cracker – one of the few I’ve met. I encounter every flavor of New England accent each day, but rarely a Floridian. What an honor!

I don't know why these little guys show red here. I assure you they were silver.
I don't know why these little guys show red here. I assure you they were silver.
A tarpon leaping -- sorry for the poor quality.
A tarpon leaping -- sorry for the poor quality.
Another tarpon.
Another tarpon.
Dolphins riding a wave.
Dolphins riding a wave.
A ray in about six feet of water.
A ray in about six feet of water.
Manatee -- picture taken by my friend Roy, in the canal at Venice, Florida
Manatee -- picture taken by my friend Roy, in the canal at Venice, Florida
Another shot. I thought they stayed to the rivers and canals, but my Florida friend tells me it is not at all rare to see them around Gulf beaches.
Another shot. I thought they stayed to the rivers and canals, but my Florida friend tells me it is not at all rare to see them around Gulf beaches.

The bounty of the Gulf

The next wave spun me to face the open water, and a flash of silver caught the corner of my vision. I focused, just in time to see a dozen long, thick bodies leap from the water, and reenter with barely a splash – sparkling silver under the sun, only a hundred or so feet away.

“Ahhh –“ I yelped, pointing. “Look!”

“Tarpon,” my new-found cracker friend explained. “They’re here feeding on these.” She waved her hand at the tiny fish flitting around us.

I stared out at the water, willing more of the magnificent fish to appear. They did. Close by, another group arced a good five, six feet up, water dripping from their powerful long bodies, flashing as they did. Further out, more jumped, and more, and more.

I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but the sight brought tears to my eyes. Or maybe it was just the combination of salt water and bright sun. All I know is not all the warm water on my cheeks came from the Gulf. There is nothing in this world of man to rival God’s creations.

And perhaps it was my silent prayer of gratitude that brought them, but a pod of dolphins sped by, dorsal fins slicing through the water, close enough for us to see they had three young with them. We watched their antics and marveled at their grace. They, too, had come to dine on the Gulf’s bounty of little fish. I laughed, unable to keep my pleasure to myself.

My companion also laughed, but at me, pleased by my enjoyment of her world. “Now the beach is quiet, they’re not afraid to come in.”

I closed my eyes for a moment; they smarted so. When I opened them, I looked down to avoid the glare, only to see what looked like three cardboard squares at an angle float by at knee level: rays seeking the shallows to spawn.

I pulled up my feet in apprehension. I’d been told of the dreadful pain associated with the wound from a sting ray.

“Relax,” she said, laughing some more. “They’re harmless. You have to step on them before they’ll hurt you. Now those –“ she pointed at some jelly fish bobbing close by – “you want to avoid. Won’t make you sick or anything, but their poison hurts and’ll give ya a bad rash.”

“Okay,” I said, hoping the things would float off, farther away.

A larger than usual wave lifted me high, turning me once again to the beach. What the …? My companion and hers stood together at the water’s edge, shouting, pointing to the right and waving wildly for us to come back.

Full of nervous curiosity, my mind full of sharks, I started my foot shuffling return to the beach, a difficult task. Two steps forward, a receding wave, and one step back. My Floridian friend rode the waves in her tube, and at one point grabbed my arm to pull me in faster.

Finally, staggering through the surf, I made the beach. “What?”

The two women pointed at a spot fifty feet away.

A dark mass heaved and wiggled under the water’s surface. A shiny glob pushed up, glistening in the sun and then slid back under. The glitter of the sun made it impossible to judge the size, and the shape seemed in constant shift.

Oh, please God, don’t let it be … My heart sank in sorrow, while my mind tried to reason. It can’t be, not here. There’s been no oil sightings this far down the coast.

It wasn’t. The cracker tipped back her head and laughed to the sky. “It’s a manatee.”

We walked down the beach, the four of us to get a better look. Sure enough, it was one of those clumsy, slow moving enigmas native to Florida, a manatee or sea cow as the first Europeans called them. The glob I’d seen was its strange bulbous snout seeking air. Relief poured through my veins.

But the light-hearted joy of the morning was gone, not to be retrieved. In that moment I fully understood for the first time the nature of this catastrophe growing worse every day. It spells death to one of the richest living places on earth.

Yes, the full impact hit me then, and I’ve carried a sense of sorrowful mourning ever since.

A Charlotte harbor fish broker says

In Charlotte Harbor and Punta Gorda, the fishing fleet stays in. No, the local waters are not yet polluted, but there is no market for the catch.

The owner of a Punta Gorda seafood warehouse has announced he will close his doors. After fifty years of rising with the sun, heading down to the docks to meet the boats and purchasing the previous day’s catch, he can no longer afford to continue.

“People have no faith the fish are clean,” he told me. “No one wants gulf fish; that’s for sure.” He wonders what the future holds. “Will they come up with some kind of test for these toxins? Has the Gulf shut down forever?” He shakes his silver-topped head, and shrugs, a mind-set that has become all too common in this beleaguered area.

And shrimp? The only shrimp I now see offered in the stores are product of China.

The Florida Gulf coast was already struggling

The southern west Gulf shore of Florida was already struggling,hardest hit of all states in the real estate collapse. Such a large percentage of local houses were owned as “second” homes by folks “up north” that when push came to shove, the owners let them go, abandoned them. The Charlotte Harbor area, at the best of times a sleepy combination of retirees, snow birds and young families who bought the last of the reasonably priced homes in the state five years ago, and now commute either to Sarasota or Fort Meyers (another hard hit city) to work, has been especially effected. Still recovering from the unexpected arrival of Hurricane Charlie in 2001, which caught residents unprepared. and literally devastated the residential areas,and the subsequent abandonment by insurance companies, the community was cannon fodder for the foreclosure crisis.

On any given street, the neglected empty houses stand out like a handful of sore thumbs among the well-kept homes of those who survive.

Yesterday, I saw a hand printed sign stuck up on the median on El Jobean (hwy 776) and could hardly believe my eyes.

4 bedroom, 2 bath, cash $59,000

Around the corner from me, a government owned house, new, built as a spec home four years ago and never inhabited has a sign tacked to the hurricane shuttered window.

$70,000 or best offer.

The house next door to me is empty, now held by Citibank who do nothing to keep it up. My husband mows the front lawn just so we don't have a derelict next door to us. It's one of four empty houses on a street of fourteen homes.

This is a middle-class area -- or was a few short years ago. You couldn't have purchased a house around here for less than $300,000 five years ago.

No more tourists

The dwindling tourist trade of the past few years was bad enough, but with this latest insult – the oil spill -- the downturn has become  less than a trickle. Despite the best efforts of the state to advertise to the rest of the nation, "Florida still has 800 miles of clean beaches," the tourists stay away in droves.

I talked to Jack, a young man, father of four, front-end guy at a hotel on Siesta Key. “I don’t think we’ll make it to next season. [The ‘season’ is from late February to late April – you make your money then or die.] Both Jack and his father have made their living from the modest motel/resort for many years. In fact, Jack has never held another job. He shrugs.

They all shrug. They are helpless, anyway.

No BP checks coming this way.

Siesta Key, Casey Key, Lemon Bay, Boca Grande, Venice, Englewood, Fort Meyers Beach, Nokomis Beach -- take a drive, see the empty motels, the deserted restaurants and the beaches left to the birds.

The area is dying.

A Florida panhandle town takes matters into their own hands

North of here, in the panhandle, the beaches are already fighting off the oil – and losing. One municipality has decided to defy the Federal system and tackle the clean up their own way. Using hand held vacuum systems, they are sucking up whatever oil they can find. Residents are paying for them from their own pockets.

Frustrated with the lack of action and leadership, this municipality is lawyering up, expecting court action over their simple act of self-preservation.

President Obama assured us just the other day that measure would be taken to help the Gulf residents. So far, all that has happened is the EPA has threatened a community doing what they can.

Who can figure?

Breton Island, Louisiana -- a bird sanctuary. Did the booms save them?
Breton Island, Louisiana -- a bird sanctuary. Did the booms save them?
My guess would be no.
My guess would be no.
The fragile salt water marches of Louisiana -- breeding grounds for thousands of Gulf species -- birds, fish and crustaceans. Did the booms put in place work? We are told by those that live there, no they did not.
The fragile salt water marches of Louisiana -- breeding grounds for thousands of Gulf species -- birds, fish and crustaceans. Did the booms put in place work? We are told by those that live there, no they did not.
Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Dead sea turtle. So far at least 300 of these endangered creatures have been found dead.
Dead sea turtle. So far at least 300 of these endangered creatures have been found dead.
Hermit crabs struggle to move.
Hermit crabs struggle to move.
A pelican attempting to fly. Numbers of dead, unknown. Rescuers do their best.
A pelican attempting to fly. Numbers of dead, unknown. Rescuers do their best.
The booms fail.
The booms fail.
Oil infiltrating the marshes as seen from the air.
Oil infiltrating the marshes as seen from the air.
Oil in the marshes.
Oil in the marshes.

Meanwhile, back in Louisiana

My husband, Jim, is from Louisiana, and you can take a Cajun to the ends of the earth, or even to Canada for twenty years, and he will still be a Cajun at heart.

Every day, he goes on line for the latest reports on the devastation of his home state. I wish he wouldn’t. He walks around afterward, his face tight with anger, and talks of nothing else. He listens to his friends there, and hears the truth the news doesn’t report, or perhaps they are just local rumors – you know how that can happen.

Locals venture out on the Gulf in their private boats, booming off oil pools with their homemade barricades, and wait, sometimes for frustrated days, for someone to come with the equipment to suck it up. Sometimes the clean-up crews don’t show up at all, and those working so hard watch in bewilderment as the oil foils containment and leeches out and the goo seeps into the precious salt water marshes.

One man told us of how three small boats struggled to contain a large pool on the edge of the marsh. Two larger boats came to help set out the booms, but the Coast Guard arrived and told the captains of these crafts to leave, as their registration was not American. The Coast Guard stayed long enough to ensure they complied, but did not help lay the booms. That oil too entered the marshes.

The fishermen, the shrimpers, the local businessmen shudder as Louisiana senators prattle on about how deep-water drilling must continue “for job creation and growth.”

Job creation and growth? If any jobs are produced on these drilling rigs – will that offset the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost?

Bill Maher made a joke about it. “Only a Republican,” he says, “can look at a dead ocean and say, ‘Gee, I hope those Democrats in the Government don’t turn this into something bad.”

The fragile wetlands along the Louisiana coast are the nurseries of the Gulf, spawning and breeding grounds to thousands of species. While no one can deny massive efforts have been made to safeguard them, those efforts have failed, and failed miserably. We will not know for years, possibly many years, the true cost of this latest of mankind's follies.

Louisiana, still reeling from Katrina, still trying to heal from the insults done to the marshes during the state's oil boom of four decades ago when massive dredging ripped up the marshes with no thought of natures plan, is ill equipped to handle this latest crisis. And it is apparent by the profound stupidity issuing from the mouths of her political leaders, the poor state is lacking in any kind of intelligent direction.

Without these marshes, not only will the sea life suffer, the state herself will be eroded as far inland as Baton Rouge (the first firm land to be encountered when traveling upstream on the Mississippi.) Scientist have warned of this for decades.

As my husband, Jim, says in finest Louisiana manner, "There ain't nothing but those grasses holding that mud in place."

Since 1970 environmentalist have urged the construction of barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana to offset the damage to the marshes done by man. Louisiana loses about fifteen feet of land per year. So far, no such action has been taken. So far, scientist say, the marshy coast of Louisiana is almost a mile further inland than when the state entered the union.

The island of Grand Isle, builds twenty feet of artificial land each year and loses most of it to erosion. The Mayer of Grand Isle asks for state help every year. "We are sinking. In another ten years, Grand Isle will not exist."

By the end of this year, Grand Isle will be unlikely to be fit to live in.

The booms have failed, the oil travels further into the marshes each day. The photograph to the right was taken a month ago, and the oil has traveled hundreds of feet further since that time.

No environment can survive the kind of toxic onslaught now underway.

The Louisiana Legislature has called for a day of prayer to stop the oil. Can't hurt. But may I suggest they say those prayers while actually doing something?

God helps those who help themselves.

Oil sheen on beach in Mississippi.
Oil sheen on beach in Mississippi.
Dead seaweed and oil on an Alabama beach. Note: the beaches were not closed for another week and people play in the water while clean-up begins.
Dead seaweed and oil on an Alabama beach. Note: the beaches were not closed for another week and people play in the water while clean-up begins.
Oil travels to Mobile on a wave.
Oil travels to Mobile on a wave.
Dolphins swimming underwater trying to avoid the slick above them.
Dolphins swimming underwater trying to avoid the slick above them.
Panama City, Florida -- the oil arrives. This photographer says, "I couldn't believe it. It's here. I sat down and cried."
Panama City, Florida -- the oil arrives. This photographer says, "I couldn't believe it. It's here. I sat down and cried."

Alabama, Misissippi -- and Florida

They say that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Well, in an instance of equally psychotic denial, officials in Alabama left beaches east of Mobile open, and tourists played in the waves, while drifts of dead seaweed, oil, foamy goo and tar balls washed ashore. What finally drove the revelers out of the water was a bevy of sharks, forced into the shallows by the invading toxic mess. You didn’t hear about this on CNN, did you?

In fact, last week CNN ran a light-hearted story about things you can do on a toxic beach. Yes – in case you already booked your travel plans and prepaid them, you can still enjoy the sun (provided the smell of oil and dead and decaying life doesn’t bother you) but “Don’t,” they warned, “go into the water.”

Reminiscent of the time Kuwait was on fire and CNN’s leading story was ‘how to properly cook your Thanksgiving turkey’, I shook my head in disbelief.

True – and I’ve seen pictures of clean-up crews working on that Alabama beach, while ordinary folk played in the water.

We haven’t heard much from Mississippi, possibly the least attractive waters in the Gulf (for humans at least) due to the effects of “Big Muddy” dumping her load of mud and rich farmland sediment into the waters. But let’s face it; if the oil is in Louisiana and Alabama, it’s bound to be in Mississippi too. Those waters may be brown, but with all the rich feeding of that particular mix of river and ocean, they teem with life – or did.

And finally, it arrived in Florida. Panama City, jewel of the Emerald Coast saw the sludge and goo arrive a few short weeks ago. The local population organized immediately, cleaning the beaches beforehand, and boomed off each onslaught as it arrived. They waited for the EPA to arrive, and waited, and waited some more. It was here one enterprising citizen found a vacuum system for sale on the internet, and ordered it. He went with a friend and within twenty minutes had sucked up enough goo from the water to fill a 45 gallon drum. Then he filled another. And another. A group of concerned citizens pooled resources and ordered more of these units (cost $275.00 each.) Soon, the Panama City beaches swarmed with people standing thigh high in the water, or on the beach sucking up oil.

The local government defied the orders of the EPA officially, and continued their operations. Lawyers are now stacked up to the sky to defend their actions, and they go on as I write.

Does any of this make sense to anyone?

Is this the future of the Gulf?
Is this the future of the Gulf?
A slick approaching land fall as seen from 30,000 feet.
A slick approaching land fall as seen from 30,000 feet.
Oil as seen from 30,000 feet.
Oil as seen from 30,000 feet.
The oil spill as at June 21 -- not including underwater clouds -- number and location unknown.
The oil spill as at June 21 -- not including underwater clouds -- number and location unknown.
The areas of the Gulf closed to fishing, shrimping or other use.
The areas of the Gulf closed to fishing, shrimping or other use.

Think

No one is sure of the amount of oil in the Gulf. They can't track the amount or the number of submerged "clouds" (in fact, until now, it was unknown that oil could travel underwater) nor can they predict where and when it will go.

Here, on the west coast of south Florida, we've believed the reports stating we will be spared this horror, but now they tell us this mass, now as big as our state, is likely to hit us after all. If that is so, God help us. We are already in desperate times. Yes, there is much money in Florida -- loads of it, but all held in private hands and unavailable for public works.

What is to be done? What can be done?

They tell us if a hurricane hits now, it may rain oil as far inland as 700 miles. Fitting revenge from Mother Nature perhaps, but only if it falls on those that made the money oriented decisions that unleashed this horror upon us.

This is unlikely to remain a problem only for the residents of the Gulf. Ocean currents as they are, most likely those submerged clouds of oil will travel the globe, killing everything in its path. What price will we pay for our foolishness?

Sooner or later, oil must become the fuel of the past. In our greed to suck that last reserve from deep inside our Earth, we have unleashed what is surely a plague upon our globe for the foreseeable time to come.

While BP frantically throws money at the problem without asking anyone's pardon, the menace grows unchecked.

In our resistance to change, we have destroyed one of the greatest food producing bodies of water on our planet. Oil or food? Is there really a choice here?

No matter how much money is made, it will never reach the hands of those who've paid the highest price. It can never replace what has been lost. And no matter how much is squeezed out of the limited coffers of BP, it cannot buy us a new planet to live on.

My husband, who you now all know is named Jim, works as financial controller for a green corporation here in Florida, one that buys, markets and promotes alternative resources and renewable options. As said by the President of that corporation, "We have the alternatives; we're ready to go forward, but as long as the oil companies keep their prices low, we cannot sell them."

Do you think there might be a plot in place?

If a country as poor as Brazil (and remember that country was officially bankrupt and defaulted on national debt not that long ago) can put in place a program to outfit all vehicles to run on ethanol and succeed, why can't we?

What made this possible for Brazil -- a centralized effort and strong government partnership in the process.

But not here, no not here. That reeks of socialism.

So when Florida's beauty is cloaked in reeking toxic oil, when she is a state of abandoned houses and bankrupt businesses, when her abundant wildlife and living waters are dead, you can all congratulate yourselves on how capitalism is the best way -- unfettered capitalism worked its wonders. See the mighty republic.

Still, to this very moment, Louisiana's senators plead for more deep water drilling permits. Congress lines its collective pockets with payoffs and largess. What care they for the plight of the Gulf coast?

"BP will be made to pay for this." They've already paid some thirty something million. They assure us all will be well. It won't. The real damage cares nought for money, and by the time this tragedy plays itself out, I imagine neither will we.

If I could i would pose two questions to those heavily sponsored souls in Washington who are supposed to represent the best interest of the people. What of your role in this mess? When do you pay for what you've done?

New! The population of the entire Gulf region face another hazard.

In my recent research into the state of affairs of the Gulf oil spill, I find mounting evidence the populations around the Gulf face a new hazard -- air born toxicity from the oil and the chemical dispersants now floating in a mass bigger than the state of Florida causing widespread illnesses, and chemical pollutants in the air reading off the charts in ALL areas east of the spill.

Our prevailing westerly winds are driving toxins, evaporating into the atmosphere from the petro/chemical mass east and are now affecting residents from Louisiana to Florida.

First hit, coastal Louisiana is reporting a new illness of respiratory system and skin affecting many in those towns with the greatest and longest exposure. This illness is now dubbed "Gulf Syndrome" and while the governments hide from this fact, like ostriches with their heads in the sand, the toxins in the air continue to mount.

I will write another hub on the oil spill, focusing on this issue as soon as time permits.

I have also read the account of a journalist with first hand experience on the spill site who claims, "BP considers the workers on the spill and the population of the Gulf as expendable."

I am trying to contact this journalist to ask her questions, and for permission to reprint portions of her articles.

There is far more at stake here than any of us originally imagined.


More by this Author


Comments 56 comments

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

This situation leaves me without words ... there is so much to say and so much to do. There is war on all fronts, oil in the golf, nature being over-run in the tar sands here in Canada, police will be trampling on us this week-end in Toronto ... the time to rest and relax is over.

I am not sure if you have seen the documentary Collapse (it was shown at the Toronto Film Festival last summer). If you have not I found the link to the first part on yotube and here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNZzSpk44Uc


papajack 6 years ago

What can I say?


fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Amazing photos, charming story of you and your friends in the ocean and a wonderful introduction to some of the creatures in the sea in South western Florida. Then you introduce the beginning effects of the oil spill. Wow ! a beautiful passion filled expose. Your words are very moving . I feel your pain and disgust. I believe all of America is in utter disbelief of this man- made disaster. My husband swims every single day in his pool. He probably was a dolphin in another life while I'm the earth sign. ( I love to garden, too.) But I well up every time I realize the damage that is ongoing in the Gulf and now all the way to Florida. Kevin Kostner has a machine that is supposed to be able to separate the oil from the water. BP bought 32 of these machines but so far , we the public, have not heard a word. I impatiently await the verdict . (Please see Green Tea-chers hub on this if you have the time.) God Bless Us All. I keep everyone in this area in my evening prayers. Magnificent Hub!!!


dabeaner profile image

dabeaner 6 years ago from Nibiru

The oil companies would be happy to drill in shallow wells on land. But, surprise, that is mostly gone. So they have to go deeper and deeper wherever they can find it (and are allowed to drill).

Why do they have to do it the hard way instead of the easy way? Answer, almost 7 BILLION people in the world intent on increasing that number even more, as fast as possible. Blame your (EVERYONE'S) cultures and religions that encourage (even demand) pumping out litters of spawn with no thought of consequences. (No more forethought than cats, rats, dogs, rabbits, cockroaches...)

http://hubpages.com/politics/indiscriminate-spawni...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

This time, Lybda, you even outdone yourself with writing such a great article about a hell scaring situation. I can't understand what are they waiting for? It has to be capped. Why not do it straight away? In Kuwait they called a company in, the only one in the world who could deal with that, called Rodadair or similar. They put the burning oil wells out in no time. So, if that can be done why not there? What a crime. There is another lady writing fantastic hubs about it and she is Cajun, lives and all her family. She is a great writer and gives also good information. Her name is Jerilee Wei. Thank you so much for such an wonderfully written hub. The papers over here do their nut because that fellow from BP went sailing after the meeting with the congress.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello Mr. Happy, Yes, I understand this is but one of many problems facing the world, but it is a huge one, and as I said, it will not contain itself to the Gulf. I'm afraid I failed to impart the magnitude of the mess. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

Papajack: I can understand being rendered speechless. Thanks for coming by. Lynda

fetty: Thanks for you kind words and your prayers for the people of the Gulf. Most appreciated. Lynda

Dabeaner: Yes, clearly there are too many of us on the planet, and yes, I understand much of the oil reserves are gone. This doesn't mean we are stuck in this oil rut. There are alternatives, and other, more advanced places (and yes, I mean that exactly as it sounds, because I can already hear the U.S. reaction should they be told they MUST switch to ethanol and MUST purchase a conversion kit -- we'd be awash with tea and slogan chanting idiots. Blind fools!) have already begun those processes. The oil lobby is huge, wealthy and powerful. They actively work against alternative energies -- but that is no reason to be a prisoner forever.

Hi hello,hello -- I am pretty sure that is they could cap the well, they would have done so long ago. The problem is -- they cannot. They have neither the technology nor knowledge and that is why the flail around trying this and that. Yes, I too enjoy Jerilee's writing, and I will check out her hubs on this subject and perhaps link to them. So much to do -- so little time. And Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP has made himself a target with the callous stupidities he's spoken. Not surprising they're making fun of him.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

You know another native born Floridian, me. Lived in Key West (born there) and Miami as a young girl. Life revolved around the ocean which was near enough to ride my bike to the pristine shore. My friends who live in FL are in a state of shock as are so many who find it incredulous that an invasion of this nature will taint our lives going forward.

You've done an incredible job of reminding us in pictures and words, of the beauty that exists at present, combined with a sad synopsis of where things will end up. Thanks Lynda, for a great hub.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello Peg, So happy to hear from you after such a long time. Of course, I'd forgotten about you -- another cracker. Just proves my point -- the crackers leave for other places, and everyone else moves in.

Yes, a state of shock accurately describes things. And a growing question of why was this allowed to happen? Did no one take into consideration what was at risk? Is it worth a few more years enslavement to a dying technology? Questioning minds want to know.

Thanks for your comment. Lynda


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

As usual, another great hub. Perhaps there are those who may live in the area, or know someone who does. These phone numbers may help:

PHOTO RELEASE: Oil clean-up methods on land and at sea

Key contact numbers

•Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information: (866) 448-5816

•Submit alternative response technology, services or products: (281) 366-5511

•Submit your vessel for the Vessel of Opportunity Program: (281) 366-5511

•Submit a claim for damages: (800) 440-0858

•Report oiled wildlife: (866) 557-1401

•Medical support hotline: (888) 623-0287

I feel your pain....


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Dallas for that useful information. Lynda


dabeaner profile image

dabeaner 6 years ago from Nibiru

Hi: I agree to an extent about alcohol being a possible alternative to gasoline. After all, Henry Ford made his cars in the very early 1900s so they would run on either gasoline or alcohol.

I think that perhaps the conspiracy folk (that includes me) are correct that the oil companies funded the religious wackos to help get (alcohol) Prohibition passed. That wiped out (legally) the ability of farmers to produce alcohol to run their vehicles (tractors and combines) as well as to sell for fueling automobiles. And for liquor.

Granted that Prohibition was eventually repealed, but the damage was done. The oil companies had established their monopoly and INFRASTRUCTURE for supplying gasoline fueled vehicles. Ford no longer made dual use engines.

Theoretically, alcohol is still a possibility. One question is, could enough be made? After all, the oil we have tapped is millions of years worth, tapped in just a little over a hundred, maybe hundred fifty years. Making alcohol from corn was/is a disaster.

But the MAIN PROBLEM with any alternatives being developed and accepted is that the public is both ignorant and stupid. The same ignorance and stupidity that has led to the population explosion has led to them accepting and following corrupt "leaders".

So while there MAY be alternatives to energy, forget about them being adopted as long as there is a drop of oil to be extracted, refined, and distributed at a net energy cost of less than what is gotten.

And, another thing: 7 billion people also need fresh water, arable land, and fish in the oceans. Those have already been spread thin (per capita) or are just plain disappearing.

Time to rent the movie "Cabaret" again.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello dabeaner -- there is an old maxim often touted by AA, change will only happen once we reach bottom. Well, perhaps we haven't yet, but we can see it from here.

And your "another thing" is the whole point to this article. We do need the rich fish, shrimp production of the Gulf -- to feed the world, not just to keep Gulf residents in jobs. Food is the most valuable commodity in this world, not gold, not money and certainly not oil.

As to the public being ignorant and stupid -- I suppose you have a point, as I sit and watch them act against their own best interests, time and time again. Still, even a moron eventually learns.

Thanks for your comment.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

That is the main problem Mrs. Martin: people do not act until their houses are on fire so to speak; I do not understand the lack of foresight out there ... I am seeing ugly things. Things are in motion that cannot be stopped. It is up to us, us all.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Build me an electric car, or a conversion kit to ethanol and I will buy it. But it will require a collective purpose and a strong leader to take us all where we need to go.

This country is so fragmented and so dominated by the power structure, they've even convinced the population there is only one way -- their way, and draped themselves in myth and legend to do so. That's the way of it, I'm afraid.

Thanks for commenting -- and you can call me Lynda.


Nan 6 years ago

Beautiful pictures oa the beaches and other scenery. The Judge in Lousiana just overruled Pres. Obama's 6 mos. stop drilling on oil. I think that he must be


Nan 6 years ago

My writing got cut off from above. The top ten or more oil company put pressure on the judge to let them keep drilling for oil in the Gulf. There seems to be no justice. They have no solution for cleaning up and the Judge let them continue? I think that the Judge should be made to live in the oil spill.


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Lynda, thanks for taking so much of your time and talent to write.

The people are at the mercy of politicians and corporations. Unfortunately, until the collective stops spending money, we will remain unheard and unheeded.

Namaste friend.


dabeaner profile image

dabeaner 6 years ago from Nibiru

FWIW, here is just one link for alcohol replacing gasoline

http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com/

Often, Coast to Coast has some worthwhile non-ghost woo-woo programs about resources, technology, conspiracies, etc. From the website you can find radio stations broadcasting the programs.

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks dabeaner -- I'm not sure what a "non-ghost woo-woo programs" is or why you left this for me --though it is common practice for many to denigrate the potential solutions to any problems. I don't need to know how it works. Do you travel much dabeaner?

Ever been to Rio? Incredible amount of traffic -- all burning ethanol. Do you know what the usual product used to make the fuel in Brazil is? Sugar cane. (In fact, sugar cane is one of the most widely available substances in the world).I understand South Africa has also successfully implemented a similar program -- also successfully. As have other places. Corn works reasonably well, as does other grains. In fact, according to my reading, almost anything that will ferment can be used.

Are you suggesting that North America, with all the resources and brains available, couldn't do the same? And other technologies do exist. Don't ask me to explain them -- I am not technologically inclined. But I can and do read what others have found and I suggest they are not all exaggerating loons.

But as long as we continue to spout the idea as "woo-woo" no much will happen, would be my guess. Yes, so much easier to shake our heads and say, it can't be done.

Such applications, along with introduction of improved public transit are an imperative. And all the nay-sayers of the world would be better off looking at the possibilities. What one group of people can do, we can all do.


dabeaner profile image

dabeaner 6 years ago from Nibiru

What I meant is that Coast to Coast is eclectic. They have a mix of what I, IMNSHO, regard as woo-woo subjects (souls, ghosts, prophecy...) and valuable subjects. So whenever you tune it, it's a coin-flip whether it will a program worthwhile to listen to.

Back to alcohol as fuel. Corn was promoted as a source. Too expensive, but what the hey, the lobbyists got their way. There are much better alternatives, such as sugar cane that you mentioned. Also cat-tails and -- horrors -- hemp (shades of Prohibition that that is not considered), among others.

The thing is, there are things that MAY be viable alternatives. The question is, will they be enough, AND will the booboise elect rulers that will allow and encourage the alternatives? I don't think so. There are too few intelligent and informed voters. The "tipping point" was long ago reached where the pretense of a government by and for the people was lost.

As Mr. Happy wrote: "That is the main problem Mrs. Martin: people do not act until their houses are on fire so to speak..."

And, I repeat what I have written elsewhere: "Whatever your cause, it is a lost cause without population control." But that ain't gonna happen because of cultures and religions. The human race is going to continue to breed until some event, such as a massive poisoning of the oceans occurs (oh, wait, that is in process now), causing a massive die-off of HUMANS because of the die-off of other species that humans need.

(Just Google "species die-off" -- including the quotation marks -- and remember that humans are also a species subject to the laws of nature. And don't think better bus-lines, street-cars, or commuter trains are going to make any difference.)

Willkommen auf der Kabarett, meine Freunde.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

BP boss Tony Hayward took time off from trying to sort out the Gulf of Mexico oil spill yesterday... by taking part in an Isle of Wight yacht race.

The under-fire chief executive was spotted on Bob, a boat he coowns, at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Yesterday a spokesman defended the appearance of Mr Hayward, 53, at the event saying he was there to relax with his son. But Hugh Wilding, of Isle of Wight Friends of the Earth, said: "This will be seen as another public relations disaster."-quote mirror uk-sorry to seem facetious ,but I wonder was he praying and sailing at the same time!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Itakins, if BP had called up central casting and asked, " please send us someone to play the callous, self-centered, non-caring, public-relations nightmare CEO" they would have received Tony Hayward. Were he a Roman, he'd be off opening his veins, not whining about wanting to get back to his life. Co-owned with JP Morgan Assent Management, you say. It figures -- the ruling classes do tend to flock together. (Fuckers!)

Thanks for commenting.

Hi dabeaner, sorry, I seem to have misunderstood your comment. Can they make enough? They can make however much they decide to make, because there is nothing that cannot be used, providing it is organic and can promote fermentation. Even garbage. On the other hand, perhaps we can learn to use less as well. Public transit in this country sucks compared to other places. Good place to start. Oh -- that's right, powerful people have vested interests on what is existing, and the government of this country doesn't even have enough power to hold off further drilling during this catastrophe. I forgot of whom I spoke. God bless America -- cause there ain't much left to say.


dabeaner profile image

dabeaner 6 years ago from Nibiru

I have been listening to Coast to Coast earlier and while I am writing this. Looks like BP is part of a plan to do the population reduction.

BTW, there is an on-line "contest" to rename British Petroleum (BP)

http://alcoholcanbeagas.com/bpcontest

A few entries by the site owner to get things started:

Bodacious Pollutery

Bad Publicity

Bloody Politics

Billionaire Pirates


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Apparently one judge in Louisiana thinks it's not so bad. I guess we know what side his bread is buttered on.

Excuse me while I make sure I get this right (after all I'm Canadian and don't understand how some things work here.) First, the President of the country said, no more drilling until we get the cleaned up and see what happened. Now a judge in La, strikes down the President's order. So, the President, if he wishes to have his order stand, must now find a higher judge (and one not paid off by the oil companies) to re-instate his orders, which the oil companies can again challenge in a higher court and so on and so forth, until it reaches the Supreme Court. Do I have this right?

This one is not yet controlled, and they want permission to drill more? The clean up has barely begun, but let's do it again? The cause, let alone the effects of this accident is not yet known, but go ahead, drill baby drill.

Just checking that my understanding is correct; I find it so hard to believe. Can anybody out there confirm this?


LRCBlogger profile image

LRCBlogger 6 years ago

The way you write and describe the beaches brings me back there. My parents live in FL above Tampa and I was in Naples last summer on business. I was swimming when a school of dolphin swam not more than 25-30 yards from me.

Reading through your hub just constantly hammered one thought in my mind: Nature can live without humans, Humans can not live without Nature. You can't put a price on the environment. Allowing BP to drill, a company with 760 OSHA violation (compared to Exxon Mobil with 1 or Chevron with 8), just shows how influential money is in politics. It's even more upsetting when you see lawmakers calling for more drilling in the name of jobs. The oil is buried 1 mile below the ocean and another 3 miles below the bedrock for a reason. We need to turn our investments and energy into solar. The sun rises and sets everyday, seems like a better source than drilling miles into the earth for a thick foul black ooze.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Anything -- even going back to horses is better than fouling our home, our source of food and the only world we have. I agree with you. We will not destroy the world, only ourselves. We will wound her though, and she will take a long time to come back, but come back she will. We will not. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

P.S. God bless and protect Florida.


fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Me again, Mrs.Immartin; I will try to explain the judges order. Everything you said is correct about the procedures that will be followed. But... There are over 200 other off shore drilling sites in the Gulf that employ a huge % of the folks in that region. These other sites are successful and have nothing to do with the

one, Deepwater Horizon that blew up. If these people don't return to their sites the crews and drills, etc. that are rented will leave this area and go over seas to get employment further devastating the region and these poor people. Pres. Obama did not get this one right. BP does not want to pay for these people's loss of income because they believe they are not directly responsible for their loss of income. Some officials and the Gov. of Louisianna have asked for this moratorium to be lifted. Many, many working oil employees want their jobs back. This is what I have read. And it is a conundrum which once again shows the ripple effect traveling in a concentric circle leaving a path of destruction for so many people.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

The moratorium affects deep water drilling only, NOT the hundreds of shallow water rigs still working. My husband is from the area, and I do understand the situation.

Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the union. It is also one of the most corrupt, and I say this from first hand experience in that state auditing oil and gas exploration projects.

Perhaps you consider a few years employment for some people an adequate trade off for massive pollution that affects hundreds of thousands more, and destroys one of the worlds richest fishing grounds.

I for one do not.

Do you think our grandchildren will understand when we leave the area devoid of life and useless, that grandpa needed a job? What of the thousands of shrimpers also from that region now out of work?

I don't think you see the big picture at all Fetty. And perhaps there are those blind and stupid enough in the region to believe their job trumps the welfare of the rest of us, and the future health of the entire Gulf region. The place is not renowned for education.

Oil will come to end sooner rather than later. The jobs will be gone anyway, and what will be left?

What will be left?

It has become increasingly apparent we do not have the technology to control the situation. What posses man to go into a venture knowing he is ill equipped to deal with the possible consequences.

I think just this one time, President Obama does have it right. Until this is under control, there is no way more drilling can be allowed to take place. Do you want two, three, four of these monsters.

Again, I repeat you are ill informed. Shallow drilling will continue. Only the deep water drilling is halted.

Further, this not the first time big oil has boomed and busted the Gulf region. In the 80's the area was full of easy rig jobs and paychecks -- then poof! they were all gone. Now -- now that they've gobbled up the cheaper easy reserves elsewhere, they're playing the same old ticket again. And when the oil is gone -- and it won't last long -- the money will be gone too. How do I know this? Because as an accountant/auditor I worked the industry -- and in that area.

Too bad about the jobs -- find something else to do. Your job isn't worth a thousand others, or the health of the entire gulf.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

I'm bookmarking this hub to read in the morning. I caught it just as I was getting ready to sign off. I completely understand and agree with your sentiments regarding the moratorium. BP has set aside 100 million alone to pay those who are now unemployed because of the spill. My heart aches each day. So much more should be done. I'm going tomorrow night to a sunset concert on the gulf. I just want to be near the water.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 6 years ago from usa

HUBBERS

It was reported that drilling in the gulf has been going on for 60 years. Some 50,000 wells have been drilled . Some in deeper water then the deepwater horizon (5,000 feet ).

The safety factor of 98.9% is where the record stands.

There are 33 rigs drilling for oil in the gulf employing some 65,000 workers and many other support businesses supplying the rig platforms.

The moratorium was collapsing the industry and the loss of revenue to the treasury, states and businesses would be disastrous for the region.

The judge ruled that the government’s reasons were insufficient to shut down all oil drilling since the government had issued permits , had inspected the rigs for safety and found that the rigs were in compliance .The president promised jobs if elected, to lose 65,000 more jobs on top of the 14 million others would further complicate the economy.

The president is way over his head in the matter and his incompetence, inexperience and arrogance has surfaced. President Obama’s refusal to accept aid from other countries at the start of the problem and other necessary actions , needing hands on control by the president were not available

Shamefully he has decided to fight the federal judge's decision and his decision to file another moratorium is irresponsible in these troubled times.

The Obama administration approved a $ 2 billion loan to a Brazilian oil company to drill for offshore oil in Brazil that would create jobs in Brazil. It was reported that one of Obama’s campaign donors purchased $ 900 million in stock of that company. Coincidence or simply taking care of friends and associates. If a moratorium was reinstated, many of the rigs would leave the gulf for other parts of the world. One destination was the waters off brazil.

Check it out on foxnews.com 6/21/10 Glen Beck expose of the connections and reasons maybe why Obama has pushed to hurt the US economy.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Jon for that information -- much appreciated.

Yes, there is no doubt corruption reigns supreme in this world. A loan to Brazil to drill for oil and provide jobs would be a wonderful gift in any other circumstances (though considering Brazil reneged on previous national debts one does question the business savvy of such) and that more waters will be put at risk for what is by necessity (dwindling supplies) a dying industry is shameful.

I do understand the economics of the situation, but what of the cost to the treasury in lost revenues from ALL the regions of the Gulf because of this. Can you not imagine how many jobs have been lost outside of the oil industry? Not to mention businesses bankrupted. The impact is already devastating. And it will be years before recovery.

I remember the 80's and the oil boom in the Gulf then. Anyone capable of lifting a tool chest was an engineer, everyone made good pay -- and it was all abandoned and the region left for greener pastures. I know because I worked in that industry adn in that location. Boom and bust. It is a rape and plunder mindset. Here today and gone tomorrow. And sorry for the mess we left behind.

And I've seen the inspectors on site pocket their "lunch" money. Corruption exists elsewhere besides Washington. I would put no further credence in the validity of those inspections than I'd believe a snake oil salesman -- because I've been there and I've seen how it works. I audited well by well.

On every drill site I ever audited in La, the highest expense after pipe and mud is bribes, euphemistically disguised as general or miscellaneous.

This I have seen with my own eyes and I'm pretty sure Glen Beck has not.

I'm deeply sorry for the financial difficulties of the people who make their money from this venture, but until the situation is under control, a moratorium makes sense in my opinion.

At least my opinion is based on first hand experience with the oil companies and drill sites and the profound corruption throughout the whole stinking industry. And it is a short term industry, not for the long haul. when the oil is gone or becomes too expensive so are they, and they have never left a region better for having been there.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Rebekahelle -- Sorry I missed your comment up there, so caught up I was in trying to state the obvious -- you can't believe what you're told about the situation in the oil industry -- they own the damn place! Ugh! I audited oil exploration in La, Ok, Tx, Ks, Ca and Canada for more years than I care to think about. I have no illusions. And certainly no innocence. (Trust Glen Beck to make political hay out of this tragedy.)

Anyway, thanks for your comment and I hope you come back and leave another once you've digested the piece. Lynda


LRCBlogger profile image

LRCBlogger 6 years ago

Jon, your source is Glenn Beck...not much more to say.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi LRCBlogger -- my thoughts entirely. Here's my opinion on Glenn Beck: http://hubpages.com/politics/This-Canuck-receives-...


Louisianna JIm -- the cajun 6 years ago

Jon I have read your comment. Certainly you have never lived in southern Louisiana. If you are not aware, the economics of this state vary by region. I grew up in this state, received my education in this state and know the area as well as anyone. Your response was not only uneducated but full of misinformation.

That there was a 98.9% safety factor on rigs in the Gulf equates to 1 Chernobyl. Other reactors probably have a 99.9% safety in Russia. However that small percent has given the people of that region countless years of illness. Not only for them but for their children. However, these people have socialism to help them. Here in the US the effects of this spill are unknown because it is recent. Who in the US will assist those people effected by the spill should it come to that. I know I am a Viet Nam vet who witnessed the effects of agent orange. The response of the people, us the government, was slow and inefficient.

I would certianly like to review your numbers on the amount of individuals employed on 1 well in the Gulf. This must include service industries and payments to public officials. What a ridiculous statement.

The Judge to whom you referred was a Regan appointee. He is elected for life. It is now public knowledge, this person has an interest, through the holding of stock, in Haliburton and other oil companies. It is certainly in his best interest to continue drilling. Capitalism an abuse of priviledge at it's best.

Overall I can only hope that there are still Americans who can think for themselves. What you have submitted could have come from some political speech. Smarten up.


MissusSmith profile image

MissusSmith 6 years ago from Montana

Do you know that 1/3 of the Gulf of Mexico is now dead. Does it matter that 2/3 are alive?

Those who promote further risk at this juncture must be those with no grandchildren -- excepting those grandparents who think the only way into the future is by refusing change.


kejobo 6 years ago

if someone found an alternative fuel do you honestly believe that large congromalates would allow it to be marketed.if so you are kidding yourself.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

kejobo -- right now the most viable alternative is ethanol from sugar cane. Whenever the price of sugar drops enough to make it competitive, the price of oil also drops. Coincidence -- I think not.

Are we waiting for the oil to run out to make change? Waiting for the "collapse"? Is it not better to make a gradual change?

I've read the comments in the forum -- very extreme -- sitting in front of a campfire trying to keep warm and a subsistence life scratching crops from the soil. Funny -- I lived with a combination of electric heat and a pellet (Pellets made from the waste from the paper pulp industry) furnace in one of the coldest climates in the world -- Manitoba, Canada. I picture the future of solar panels on my roof, wind driven turbines, my electric/alcohol driven vehicle and hurray -- no more shitty plastic bags.

May we have a little optimism please. We do not have to wait for the end before acting.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

I finally made it back, and I'm glad I did! what a beautiful, remarkably candid, true synopsis of the situation along our coasts. as I read through it, I could identify with everything you've written. surely there is no more beautiful realization than knowing we are all connected, with these beautiful creatures, the water itself, the people of the Gulf, all of us, everywhere.

I don't know what it will take, but I do know it requires action, and not waiting or trusting that 'all will be well.' we know that is not true.

today at noon, I, along with many on the Florida coasts and around the world, stood on the sands and held hands in a long line facing the waters, declaring a simple message, let it live, let it be clean. there were people of every age joining together to send a message and to let the living body of water itself feel our energy. I was holding hands with a woman who came by herself, in her 80's, I'm sure. She came walking up with a cane, laid it down and joined hands with others. We all knew why we were there and it was both empowering and sad at the same time. The water glistened, a flock of sea gulls flew over us as if they knew our purpose.

Thank you for taking the time to write this important, beautiful reflection of our fragile situation. namaste.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Rebekahelle for your heartfelt message. As many write to me arguing the business and political necessity of drilling in the Gulf, it is good to know there are still those who understand, once we destroy this home we call earth, there is nowhere else to go. Does another year of oil, another few billion in a bank somewhere measure up to that? No, decidedly not. There are alternatives, and although they are not developed enough to pick up and carry us forward right now, due in part to the actions of big oil, if we are to have them for the future, we must begin now. If we do not, then we truly do set ourselves up for the "collapse" and the destruction that will bring. If mankind is so blind he cannot prepare for the future because we still have supply for the present, no matter how great the cost, then my prayer will be let it come tomorrow, this great collapse so we may deal with the hardship, lick our wounds and go forward again.

The world is full of naysayers, and political hacks who prate about jobs, as though today was all that mattered. This well is a warning.

And even now, as scientists measure the methane in the ruptured well and worry about another explosion, one on a scale that could start a tsunami, and the government draws up plans to evacuate the entire Gulf coast -- just in case you understand (as if it had any chance of succeeding) -- still they talk of jobs.

One wonders how such stupidity can exist.


dgicre profile image

dgicre 6 years ago from USA

I am sickened over what has happened in the Gulf. What a wonderful place and your photos are just beautiful. We need to start voting with our dollars and adopt new cleaner energy technologies as they come available. Hopefully someday in our lifetime we may see these dirty forms of energy, and the greed mongers who profit from them phased out. The world will truly be a greener and cleaner place without them.


braudboy profile image

braudboy 6 years ago from Long Beach, MS

Oil is a necessity. This is a horrible accident, and we must learn from it. But, we must and will continue to explore for oil. It is the main ingredient, and almost the sole ingredient for our global energy needs. You can choose to ignore this or try to fantasize about a different world, but you are denying the truth.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks you Braudboy for your comment. Much appreciated and much thought over. In many ways you speak the truth, and in many ways so do I.

The truth has many faces -- the publicly touted one which you may follow, or the privately held one. I grew up with oil in Alberta -- paid taxes into Petro Can and all crown corporations supposedly working toward providing Canadians with self-sufficiency. I've lived through several busts and booms and bust, again. What happened? In order to fulfill America's 3/5 of her domestic need, Canadians ended up paying world market prices for the commodity Canadians had already paid for.

Right now, at this very minute, oil is a necessity. But do we have to continue on this path? No, we do not. To blindly follow a path with an already marked "DEAD END" is stupid. Do we bite the bullet now and suffer hardship, or do we pass that unpleasantness to our grandchildren? This is the question.

Am I niaive enough to believe it will come quickly or easily -- No -- but it WILL come. By necessity.

So why don't we take this Gulf disaster for the harbinger of the future as it is? Yes, let's grab what we can of what's left, but while we do; let us make plans for the future.


HeatherSMT 6 years ago

Thank you for the update. It is such a sad situation what is happening to our coast line. http://www.carstorageunits.com/


braudboy profile image

braudboy 6 years ago from Long Beach, MS

Immartin- I am not opposed to an alternative....if one should come along one day way in to the future. The global infrastructure is built around oil for its energy needs. There is nothing on the horizon that even closely resembles the efficiency and power of oil-based energy. We must embrace the exploration, refining, and production of oil for our energy needs or we will be sorry.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

As I said -- there are many opinions out there. And it is my belief we will be sorrier if we do not channel our greatest efforts into developing those alternatives. They exist already and require only the determination to make them reality. The global infrastructure at this point is built around oil -- but change is the constant of life. Refusing change is extinction.


TheSablirab 6 years ago

Reading this makes me mad; not at you of course, but I am mad at BP, I am mad at our government, and I am mad that I can't physically go down there and do anything, because it doens't sound like there is a whole lot I can do.

I am going to post this article on my Facebook page to share with everyone; any new information can only help this cause.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks Sablirab, I think many of us chafe at the impotence and our inability to make our wishes known.


braudboy profile image

braudboy 6 years ago from Long Beach, MS

It is a very sad situation. I live in Long Beach, MS and I am seeing the oil spill up close and personal. And, I will be all for the alternative energy source, it it is ever invented. What I dont want to see, is some irrational decisions that steer our country into more trouble by adopting inferior energy solutions because of this tragedy.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi braudboy -- first they are invented. Second, change is always frightening. Third, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

Sorry to hear of the destruction in Mississippi. We -- my husband and I -- are of course hearing from many in Louisiana. I fear for Florida, so dependent on tourism and the beaches -- and for all those who made their living off the Gulf.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

The first questions that entered my mind when I first learned about off-shore oil drilling was "What if something goes wrong? What would happen then? How will the problem be fixed?" and then the questions evolved into believing "They need to be prepared." and "Are the oil companies prepared for disaster?" Well, I've finally got the answers to my questions.

Irresponsible greediness on the part of the oil companies prevented them from being proactive enough to put first things first while beginning with the end in mind. How is it they could provide a benefit to mankind without acknowledging the hazards at the same time?

How does the saying go...for every positive action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Drilling for oil isn't an issue with me - being unprepared is. Always consider the consequences.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Lynda, yes. It is a travesty. Our Nana has a home along the Gulf and the first part of this hub brought me back to the day my daughter floated in an innertube and was bumped by something beneath the surface. It turned out to be a dolphin, but for one moment, I was terrified. We do not know what hovers in the deep.

That being said, my husband and I were in graduate school when Jimmy Carter was President. He promoted Alternative Energy and my husband and I were all for solar energy. When Reagan became President, money dried up for Alternative Energy- it was redirected into computer development in Silicon Valley as I recall. So my husband went into the oil business and I had babies.

Ethanol requires oil in its processing, did you know that? In fact, lots of the alternative fuels require traditional means to become energy useful. Until we can make alternative fuels economic, the Republicans will vote it down- as proven in the 80s. It's all about money in the US, as I assume you know.

It must be heartbreaking to experience this first hand. We have not been to Florida to witness the destruction of the beaches. I have never been to other Gulf states. We visit family on holiday and they are all in the midwest.

Change for large institutions and governments is a slow process. Sometimes it takes a miracle to move a mountain. Perhaps I can pray for that.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Storytellersrus and welcome to this hub.

I'll start by talking about one part of your comment -- ethanol requires oil in its processing -- well as today only blended ethanol fuels are made in the U.S., yes oil is used in the processing, but in other countries, like Brazil that uses a sugar as a base, oil is not used -- and is not necessary as ethanol is only distilled alcohol from any fermenting body. No oil required -- and as I've done a study on this, I can state that quite soundly. Sorry, but this time you're misinformed.

Some people I've been in contact with make their own ethanol and use it to power not only a car, but a truck w/camper, a boat and a tractor (modified engines of course.) It's actually quite an easy process.

Now to the beaches: The damage to the beaches is restricted to those in the panhandle of Florida; the beaches of the Southern Gulf Coast are as beautiful today as ever, except there are few tourists. I recently saw a headline in a local paper FLORIDA PAYS THROUGH THE NOSE FOR THIS SPILL AND GETS ONLY A HEADACHE IN RETURN -- Louisiana gets the revenues of oil plus all the reparation money from BP, so does Mississippi. All Florida gets is a headache and lost revenue that will not be repaid. Fort Meyers has suggested all the hotels should be appraised and the loss in value billed to BP, because folks just don't believe the Gulf to be safe, nor the fish taken from the Gulf (no matter where) and are neither visiting Florida nor buying the fish. The seafood wholesalers in this area have all had to shut their doors -- no market.

All the blather about lost oil jobs and not one word about the lost jobs, businesses, industries this spill has created.

And all the BS out there, hard spoken opinions from those who know nothing about the situation (aside from what they've been told by Glenn Beck -- the idiot blowhard) rantings and ravings -- and now it's all Obama's fault, don't you know.

Honestly, if the situation wasn't so painful to see, I'd laugh myself into incontinence.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

LOL, laugh into incontinence! That is a great line. It doesn't take much for me, haha.

You inspired my latest hub, doncha know?! I read up on ethanol after I made the above comment- had to verify it. I found a site that lays out the energy cost of producing ethanol from corn: energy costs associated with growing it and energy costs associated with transforming it into ethanol. There are also energy costs to transport it, etc.

I am not going to argue with you on this point and I am happy to concede it... though I am not convinced on a massive scale. You probably will inspire me to research Brazil's use of ethanol, lol. I love being inspired to research something. Thanks!

I have heard lots of news reports on lost jobs down in the Gulf. In fact, I have heard about them daily and wondered if other people continued to suffer job loss from the down turn in the economy, or if focus on the Gulf meant things were improving elsewhere.

As you know, I have recent experience with loss of income through no fault of our own. It is disheartening whereever it occurs. We were lucky to have supportive family and friends. Unemployment insurance covers the cost of health insurance for our family of five and that is about it. Many people drop their health insurance. I guess we should have. We remained healthy and would have had $800/month to apply to other bills.) Who knew? It's all a gamble.

Anyway, I meant to tell you when I read this article that I thought it was very poetic. Your passion showed. And the photos helped tell the story, providing a poignant contribution.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

I am at a loss for words...It amazes me that ordinary people can see the danger and the need for action in this crisis yet, the so-called experts are still studying and thinking...makes no sense to me at all. Your report has left me very sad...although this is happening in the gulf...it is happening to all of us...we are a global community and why does it take a tragedy like the Tsunami or the Haiti earthquake before countries will step in and say, something has to be done...how does the USA say they will help other countries when they can't even help themselves. There is something terribly wrong with this picture...thanks for the article...I don't imagine it was easy to write...Blessings to you lmmartin...Ulrike Grace


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Ulrike Grace and thanks for dropping by. It is sad, this devastation and assault on our environment. For example, I just read an article on the comeback of the sea turtles -- written a few months before this spill. Decades of hard work to save this endangered species -- the result? Around 600 dead known so far and who knows how many unknown. Yes, sad. Thanks again.

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