The Green Life

The Green Life focuses on staying up-to-date with the latest green trends, events and news around the world.

April 20, 2010 will forever be known as one of the worst environmental disasters in history. The explosion of British Petroleum’s oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is spewing about 5,000 barrels of oil per day. It may take up to 90 days to stop the leak.

Until then, we’re awaiting the devastating effects to the shoreline, wildlife and the fishing and tourism industries of the southeastern U.S. coast.

There are numerous endangered species that already live in the Gulf of Mexico. Among them, several species of sea turtles are affected including the Kemp’s Ridley turtle. It is still in its nesting season and only resides in the Gulf of Mexico.

Larger species such as the Bryde's whales and sperm whales may ingest oil directly during feeding or it will cause long-term damage from oil accumulating in their digestive systems through the food chain.

At least nine dolphin species reside in the Gulf of Mexico and have similar vulnerabilities to whales. When these mammals approach the surface to breathe, they can also become coated by the oil.

Shrimp, blue crab and the blue fin tuna are vulnerable to the oil spill effects and are important to the fishery industries of the Gulf Coast.

Oil spills are especially dangerous for birds, including the brown pelican, reddish egret and various migratory songbirds that live along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Once feathers are coated with oil, birds will have difficulty flying and keep warm. Once the oil reaches the shoreline, bird feeding and nesting habitats will be in further decline.

As the large oil slick reaches closer to the shore, the U.S. government is taking three actions to combat the spill. First, the leak will be capped to prevent further oil from escaping. Second, the oil will be removed from the surface of the water. Finally, the oil will be prevented from reaching the land, and if it does, to clean it up immediately.

Amidst the environmental devastation, I believe what many people are looking for is responsibility and accountability. Today, BP announced that they are fully responsible for the oil spill and will pay all necessary costs to clean it up. This also includes paying compensation for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses.

Although BP is heading in the right direction, Transocean Ltd., the owner of the drill rig has yet to do the same. According to a Transocean spokesperson, they are waiting for all the facts and won't speculate until then.

As we await for more information on the spill, I can't help but wonder: how did we get into this mess in the first place?