I have decided to restart the Cited Project. I have decided that I would like to cite the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. I want to do this because it is something that represents a wider problem and we are still seeing the impacts of the disaster even though it happened in 2010.
I think the photo speaks for itself in terms of how destructive the disaster was. It’s an incredibly frustrating thing to have happened because, like events such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, the effects of this are going to be around possibly for generations. The photo below demonstrates the impact of the accident. The thing to note here that even if the knowledge of mutated, deformed fish isn’t enough for some people, maybe the fact that those fish then end up on our dinner plates might be. The other thing is that if we carry on polluting and poisoning the sea, even humans won’t be able to go in there any longer. An old teacher of mine from primary school once said that my generation’s grandchildren won’t be able to go into the sea because it would be too dangerous. At the time I didn’t know wether to believe that and even now I hold out some hope but I’m increasingly wondering if that will be the case in the future. With Donald Trump undoing all of the Obama administration’s work to combat climate change and pollution and potentially planning to nuke North Korea, hope is fading fast. Having said that, there are still plenty of pressure groups and conservation societies that aim to protect our waters which means that people still care, it’s just a case of getting the people at the top on board. Throughout my geographical studies in high school, I’ve learned that getting governments on board with climate saving policies is extremely difficult, largely because of two things:
- It’s expensive. Yes, unfortunately putting sustainable measures in place in order to curb our impact on the world is expensive which makes it unappealing for both governments and also big business. The government wants business to remain in the country so they need to make sure the policies put in place do not scare off business, however they also have a duty of care to the environment and are under pressure from various environmental activists such as Greenpeace and this is just the wealthy countries. It is more difficult still for poorer countries to get in on sustainable living and good environmental practice because there is far less money to go around. There can also often be issues with corruption and war that might also interfere with this aspect of dealing with climate change. This is why there is much discussion about how wealthier countries might lead the way, or ‘pick up the tab’ so to speak. This is all very well and good, but I wonder if the only way to make real progress is to stop making climate change about money on a governmental and corporate level which I guess is really difficult but there must be a way forward. The thing that makes me really frustrated was there was a discussion at one point about wether (and yes this was actually a thing) it would be cheaper to implement climate change prevention strategies and curb the effects of climate change or allow climate change to happen and deal with the consequences retrospectively rather than preventatively. So if there was an increase in natural disasters, they were wondering if it was cheaper to let them happen and then rebuild things. It’s ridiculous.
- The second thing is that not all countries have had a chance to develop. A lot of countries in the northern hemisphere such as the USA and UK have been through their industrialisation and have therefore had their chance to develop stronger economies, resources and lifestyles, whereas places, typically speaking in the southern hemisphere, such as Nicaragua, Sierra Lione and Ghana are still very much considered developing and haven’t yet industrialised. And then there’s the ones in the middle such as China which is currently industrialising and is often considered the factory of the world which is hardly surprising. The debate here is centred around wether countries like these should be allowed to industrialise just like our country did back in the 1800’s. The problem is, that whilst allowing these countries to catch up with us might morally be the right thing to do (who knows), it would be a nightmare environmentally. The British Industrial Revolution did enough damage and China is currently doing an insane amount of damage. I think we can come up with ways to help these countries develop sustainably because we have the benefit of both new technology and hindsight. There are summits that have been held with this topic of discussion in mind but they have never held any good results. There was one that suggested the developed countries like the USA and UK should aim to reduce carbon emissions whereas developing countries like China were told they could increase them with no cap. This resulted in minimal decreases from the UK and USA and an exponential increase by China, they increased their carbon emission output by 50% which is crazy. There was also no way of making sure various governments actually did what they said they’d do and it was all a bit of a wash to be honest.
I’m sorry about geography/climate change rant there I just wanted to give some background as to why I am interested, why I care and why it’s so important for everyone to pull their socks up and try and chip in.
The primary chemical at play is called phenanthrene. It is found in crude oil but can enter the environment through car exhaust. The researchers studied how it affected the hearts of pelagic fish found near the site of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Phenanthrene has also been found to negatively impact the heart’s strength and rhythm in all vertebrates.
“These open ocean fish are hard to study in captivity, but understanding what component of the Deepwater Horizon disaster oil negatively affected the heart is really important,” said Dr. Holly Shiels from the University of Manchester. “It could help us distinguish the cardiotoxic potential of environmental catastrophes. It also provides insight into the possible cardiac impacts of urban air pollution on public health.”
My hope is that I can develop a project that speaks about these problems and reminds people that we need to look at our way of being and find alternative ways of doing things.