Down the bayou, fishing, shrimping and oil are ways of life. They get passed from father to son, and generations of families shrimp, trap, fish, and go to the rigs together. For better or worse, they help feed the nation, and with 27% of our petroleum products going through south Louisiana, they fuel our Nation as well.
So as the oil comes ashore in the weeks and months ahead, the losses will be found across the spectrum of ecosystem components. Those dolphins, the shrimp and crabs whose descendents now ply those waters, and the Cajun fishermen and roughnecks who fled that sinking burning rig into the abyss will, and have, already suffered. All in the name of oil – and all in the name of our Nation.
UPDATE (Thursday 6 May 2010):
Joe Romm, continuing his fine service to the Nation at Climate Progress, shares this study on human dimensions and impacts of the oil spill:
We are in uncharted waters with this disaster. Sadly, it is likely to become an exemplary case study in how badly people and communities can be injured by an oil spill and its response. Experience with oil spills inside and outside the United States demonstrates that oil spills produce dramatic consequences for people’s lives. To better prepare for responding to spills, it is wise to learn from experience and be pro-active about planning for how to deal with impacts to humans. Hopefully, a broad understanding of the human dimensions of oil spill hazards can help these responders make wise decisions.