Real Stories from the Gulf–Our Oceans Cry Out–WAKE UP!

I attended a heart-wrenching vigil last week–the stories are just now being shared. We must wake up–mother earth–our only home–generations yet to come–change must happen now–WAKE UP!

Oil Spill Vigil Readings

Below are a series of brief facts and stories from people on the gulf region. Several of the facts and stories below are used courtesy of the Gulf Restoration Network. Check out more stories of the Gulf oil spill here:


The fishing communities threatened by the spill produce 30% of America’s seafood and the shrimp, oysters and crabs that New Orleans is famous for. One-third of the Gulf of Mexico fishing grounds are closed. (Source: Gulf Restoration Network)


As of June 4, 278 dead sea turtles have been found. Most were found washed ashore, either dead or in distress. (Source: Gulf Restoration Network)


This is a prime nesting season for Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican. Louisiana has about 20 brown pelican nesting sites. And eggs appear to be picking up oil from incubating parents that swim through oil. The oil could be deadly to the 100,000 chicks that will begin coming of age in the coming weeks. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune)


Sperm whales are endangered species, and the BP spill is located in a canyon that is a prime feeding area for the whales. Biologists say that even if they could move from their prime feeding ground, they might not be able to survive. NOAA estimates that if even 3 sperm whales are killed by the BP spill, their recovery as a species will be in jeopardy. (Source: Gulf Restoration Network)


Because of a federal law passed right after Exxon Valdez, BP’s legal liability for the spill is capped at $75 million. The total damages from the spill will easily reach the tens of billions. BP meanwhile is the fourth largest corporation in the world. They made $239 billion in 2009 alone. (Source: various)


Since the beginning of 2009, BP has employed 49 lobbyists at a cost of $19.5 million. Of these 49 lobbyists, 35 –or 71 percent — previously held federal positions. They’ve also spent $200 million a year on their “Beyond Petroleum” advertising campaign. (Source: Public Citizen)


There is little knowledge of the side-effects of the toxins being poured in the Gulf, though over a dozen workers have reported health problems such as dizziness, headaches, chest pain, and nausea. Dispersants have also never been used to the extent used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico, reaching record levels that has resulted in over 700,000 gallons of the chemical dumped into the water. Essentially, BP is conducting the largest chemical experiment ever attempted in the Gulf of Mexico and the final results will not be in for another 10-20 years. (Source: Gulf Restoration Network)


Brenda Dardar Robichaux, Principal Chief, United Houma Nation:

The United Houma Nation, an indigenous nation numbering approximately 17,000 along coastal, southeast Louisiana, is at high risk of cultural. The Tribe has existed in the bayous and rivers of central South Louisiana long before Louisiana became a state and New Orleans became a French colony. The impact of the spill is already catastrophic to tribal fishermen. The oil has spread west of the Mississippi River. Houma fishermen cannot sustain the losses of just one fishing season, much less several seasons if impacts are long term. With such dire but very real predictions, Houma Nation fishermen may literally cease to exist.


Mike Lane, owner of the recreational charter boat company

My business was fine two months ago, three months ago, and my income will effectively be zero next month. I’m not going to be able to generate any business because most of the areas are closed. Pretty soon pretty much all of them will be closed, plus who wants to come down here and fish in an environment, even the selected parts of it. So it’s not just my business. Everyone’s business that depends on the ability to fish in Louisiana is going to be decimated.


Dean Blanchard, Dean Blanchard Seafood:

I got 1,400 boats, and we do about 900 a day. Normally, you wouldn’t be able to stand right here, there’d be fish stacked up everywhere you look. I’d have 14 or 15 tractor trailers parked out here, 1,000 people running around this place going 24/7.  Now, we got a guy who comes here from London, pollutes the whole Gulf, and I gotta watch him on TV saying that I still got 80% I can fish. You know what? That 80% don’t have the stuff. The 20% is where everything’s at.


Danny Phillips, oysterman

Breathing all that poison, I figured people would get sick and probably can’t even live there anymore to tell you the truth. How are you going to breathe all that everyday? I don’t know. We were just devastated, and if the oil comes over here, we’re going to be devastated again. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have no plan, but I need to start making one if the oil’s coming here.


Rosina Phillip, community elder, Atakapa Tribe:

We need the truth because our very lives, our very livelihood, entire culture depends on getting the truth, knowing what we have to deal with, what is the duration of what we have to deal with. Without the truth we’re sunk. But it’s not happening because people don’t want to get off of that bottom line and it’s all about profit.  It’s all about profit. It’s profit for today and you suffer for generations afterwards. Enough of that.


Patrick Fahey, AmeriPure Oyster Company:

It’s had a profound effect on our business. We’re selling about 25 percent of what we were prior to the spill. The little bit that we’ve got is fine. It’s not been affected by the oil. That’s not to say that at some point in future, these harvest areas won’t be affected.

I’m tired. We have – we’re working twice as hard to do about 25 percent as much. And it grates on you after a while. And just seeing the images of that thing spewing poison into our beautiful Gulf, it just sucks it out of you. It sucks the life out of you.

Only after the last tree has been cut down,

Only after the last river has been poisoned,

Only fter the last fish has been caught,

Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

Cree Indian Prophecy

3 thoughts on “Real Stories from the Gulf–Our Oceans Cry Out–WAKE UP!”

  1. I have a M. S. & half in Earth Science. I was just down in the gulf the week before this thing evolved. In fact, I was invited to a petroleum geology conference in New Orleans through my almni association with the University of Michigan. I didn’t attend. Immediately after I heard about this, I wanted to volunteer. So far no one contacted me. I see this as a world-wide disaster that’s going to be around basically forever. It’s heartbreaking!

  2. Kathy,
    Robert Kennedy Jr., who has represented fishermen for many years, within the first week of the BP Deepwater Horizon leak, said it threatened the source of 41% of our seafood.

    Riki Ott, a marine biologist/toxicoligist, stated Monday evening on MSNBC that reporters are being blocked from beaches, and when a carcass washes up on a beach in the night, people will appear quickly with flashlights and behead the carcass (rendering it unable to be autopsied) and carry it away.

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