Have you ever wondered what our restaurants would be like without a fish or seafood section on the menu, imagined vitamin store shelves with no fish oil section, or witnessed an ocean with no marine life?
There has been attack on life on earth as we know it. British Petroleum (BP) is the first major oil company to claim the lives of ocean species in the 21st century. And it stands to reason that with such devastation, we should expect imminent changes to the human diet.
Once one of the world’s most productive fisheries, the Gulf of Mexico, like many other aquatic environments, boasted an entire ecosystem that is now undergoing a reign of utter annihilation. A healthy ecosystem in the Gulf will normally consists of an aquatic food chain: algae, plankton (bottom dwellers), food for crustacean species and fish, fish consumed by other marine life and birds or caught by fishermen who work long, unprecedented shifts to secure their catch and feed their families. The obvious victims are fish, dolphins, whales, turtles, birds, wetlands, reefs, and many more that have been or are currently in danger of being killed. Nearly 50 percent of the bird species in North America rely upon wetlands for some aspect of their nesting or feeding. Lest we forget the livelihoods of men and women whose living thrives on an aquatic economy: completely destroyed. There is an ever-increasing negative social impact directly following the oil spill and poverty is lurking for the fishing communities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) indicates that further research is being conducted and states, “Researchers are looking at the toxic effects that the oil may have on sediment-dwelling creatures, which play an important role in the food chain.”
Although the purpose of this blog is surely not to call 1989’s ExxonMobile Valdez oil spill to the stand, ExxonMobile claimed in their own report on the oil spill that it took one full year to clean up the oil on the Alaskan sound. To counter this stark inaccuracy, in 2007, a study conducted by NOAA determined that more than 26 thousand U.S. gallons of oil remain in the sandy soil of the contaminated shoreline, declining at a rate of less than 4% per year. In fact, deposits of oil can be found in the cavities of the shore’s rocks. Hence the reason ExxonMobile hired its very own peer scientists to generate numbers that wouldn’t astound. But that, my friends, is another ethical story. In ExxonMobile’s shadow lies BP’s fate…does it still sound like there’s hope for BP taking part in a massive clean-up?
The media’s role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is important and necessary for bottom line and investigative reporters, and to rightfully expose the aftermath of this grossly inhumane act. There will be much debate over improved use of energy, banning offshore drilling, and the list goes on. One issue that needs to be an equally integral part of the debate is how the oil spill will impact the average North American’s diet. It’s a critical time to examine how we as humans rely on aquatic life for food.
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has compromised much more than our ocean waters and marine life. We look to marine life for so many things, namely food, but going forward, food should not be one of them; there will be too many endangered species. Now more than ever we must consider the possibility of turning to quality sources of omegas and protein in natural, plant based foods, and make protecting the earth a reality.
Though it may come as an extreme measure, why not think of alternative sources of food that may spare marine life which now, more than ever, demands protection from this staggering environmental problem? To name one example, you may want to consider flaxseed oil, made from a plant based seed, if you presently rely on fish oils to get your Omega-3 fats essential for heart and brain functions. Anything we can do as individuals to positively impact marine life is helpful. What will you do to improve marine life as well as your own after BP?
Here are organizations that could use volunteers in a variety of ways:
By guest contributor, Jeanelle Roman.