Full Extent Of Gulf Oil Slick Revealed

The full extent of damage from the gulf oil spill is very poignantly revealed in this newly released image from NASA's Terra satellite.

Oil dominates the gulf coast

Click the above image for a larger size and take a moment to think about what you are looking at. This is an environmental catastrophe, no, an environmental tragedy on an unprecedented scale. The human impact is secondary to the horrific impact on the wildlife of the entire area, the species count alone going far beyond any of our worst fears. It looks terrible from space, and it looks even worse close up.

Waves breaking and churning oil

Ours is mostly an economic loss that is already being felt by livelihoods dependent on the coastal ecosystem, but that will very soon start to ripple through the USA and the world. The loss to wildlife is almost incalculable. Particularly galling are the many images of birds covered entirely by a disgusting thick gloop that is painful, debilitating and poisonous.

A pelican is completely covered in oil

The Big Picture has a very graphic pictorial of the effects of the oil on birdlife. I will warn though that it is very difficult viewing. I was only able to view the first few images before feeling too ill to continue.


And all this to save a buck so a fatter paycheck could be delivered to those who created the mess.

So, are you going to get angry about this?
Anger doesn't even begin to describe the emotions about this. A deep sadness and guilt is the starting point, followed by despondence about the stupidity my species is capable of. What truly makes me angry isn't the tragedy itself, but the self-righteous attitude adopted by those who put their own interests above all else. We are facing a crisis like no crisis we have ever faced before, and there are still those who try to spin to their own political gain. From talking heads on "news" programs asking where the oil is, to politicians shifting blame from their own policy, to the corporate restriction of information. If the gravity of the situation wasn't such an overwhelming sadness, it would almost be laughable to hear some of the utter nonsense gushing from those idiotic enough to try and deny their own hand in causing the horror.

It is difficult to find anything positive to report on this. We can only hope that our ability to do things as great as taking majestic images from space, is somehow a match for our ability to be stupid.

Images credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team, Dave Martin/AP, AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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claude angeli said...

The world has never remained what it was the day before, it never has even before humankind. I find the loss of life hard to bear, the polution ugly, but I understand that without the oil the life I have wouldnt be. So maybe the only one I have to blame is myself, but I should hold those responsible to a higher calling of fixing what they can. In no way was BP hoping to lose this oil in the gulf, while whatever happen could be possiblly changed, a procedure rewrote, in the end it will happen again.