Disaster Victims

A little over a year after the BP oilrig sprung a leak, my family and I went to Panama City in Florida. As far as we could see, we couldn’t notice any differences in the Gulf of Mexico. The water was still crystal clear even though thousands of barrels of oil leaked into the ocean each day for months. I was completely aware of how the spill dramatically affected the lives, jobs, and futures of countless Americans.

The Gulf of Mexico is a critical natural resource that has major benefits and services for the people of the United States. As I was visiting Panama City some people in my family decided to go deep-sea fishing. When we were on the boat the Captain explained how their deep-sea fishing business was still recovering from the BP oil spill.

People did not want to come to Panama City for vacation anymore and the disaster caused the fishing industry to lose money in many ways. A disaster like this destroyed coral reefs, lagoons, coastal wetlands, sea grass, and a variety of animals. The captain explained how oil spills affect all wildlife in some way. My personal experience on the boat made me feel bad for the people that had their lives changed because the oil spill could have been prevented very easily.

Give two examples of helping behavior: The BP oil spill brought Americans in the gulf closer than they ever have before. Americans knew how important it was to devote their time helping in the recovery and cleanup processes. People volunteered to help clean up the tarball filled beaches. Tarballs are toxic byproducts of oil spills and they presented itself all over the Gulf Coast.

Workers and cleanup crews worked together to use high-pressure hot water hoses to clean up the affected beaches, but the pressure washers caused more problems because the oil seemed to move deeper into the sand. This caused workers and volunteers to work together to bulldoze the irritated sand and gravel until the spill was cleaned up correctly.

Rocky shorelines that were affected pose a different problem. When oil comes onto a rocky shore, each individual rock is covered, as well as anything living among the rocks such as mussels, crabs, oysters, and clams. Some cleanup crews thought you had to individually wipe each rock with sorbent material. Other cleanup crew’s thought that the best way to fix the problem was through dispersants. Workers argued because dispersants could have devastating effects on parts of the environment. In the end, these people came together and figured out the safest and best way to cleanup the rocky shores.

Give an example of gender differences: I read an article online saying that BP could have prevented the oil spill if there were more women executives working inside the company. Their argument was if BP’s board of directors were women, then they could have changed the overall attitudes, behaviors, and decisions of British Petroleum. They said that women demonstrate a higher concern about the environment and demonstrate more pro-environmental behaviors. Although I do not know if this is true, this is an example of how people feel that gender affects the way things are being done.

Where did I get the information:

Freudenburg, W. (2011). Blowout in the gulf. Massachusetts: Library of Congress. Peterson, C. (2003). Long-term ecosystem response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Science, Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/302/5653/2082.short