Monday, June 21, 2010

Oil Apocalypse

The tragedy in the Gulf is an apocalypse for its non-human life. One response is simply to make sure it is seared into the hearts and minds of responsible humans, to increase the possibility that it not be repeated. So if we can find the news, we must attend. An AP story says that dolphins, sharks and other sea creatures are showing up closer to shore, apparently fleeing oiled waters farther out, like animals fleeing a forest fire. If these shallow waters become too crowded, fish could die from lack of oxygen.

The number of animals known dead--including more than 40 dolphins and other mammals--are likely a small fraction of the actual casualties. But the prospects of entire species are crossing from speculative fears to deep concern. Among them are the Gulf's sperm whales. Several species of sea turtles are vulnerable, and there is this as yet unconfirmed report based on an NPR interview that BP crews are refusing to remove sea turtles from oiled waters before the oil is burned. The most vulnerable turtle species is disproportionately showing up among dead turtles. (This report is also diaried at Daily Kos.) If this report is true, the response may include charges of violations of the Endangered Species Act. These are ancient species of turtles that in their native habitat live long lives.

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