For just over a week this past September I circumnavigated the every move of a handful of National Audubon’s best and brightest folks trying to make sense out of where we are six months after the April 20th disaster on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig. I photographed their every move. We divided into two teams. We were led by Audubon’s Chief Scientists Dr. Tom Bancroft and coordinated by their super woman in Louisiana Melanie Driscoll. Depending on several factors the team’s finding are surprising and simultaneously cautionary.
The results of that week, and the endless days on the beaches and bayous leading up to it, were released in the Oil and Birds: Too Close for Comfort. In its first few days of public life the Report has been creating a lot of interest – north and south of I-10.
The Report is a great start, I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s what needs to be done – look, look hard, and continue to look. It’s the next two or three of these reports that may shed light on where the oil and dispersants are, went, and will the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster be remembered as the greatest human-caused environmental disaster or a blip on the radar of our final decades on Earth depending on hydrocarbons for energy. As Audubon President & CEO David Yarnold said in a press release accompanying the Report, “People shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that the danger to birds and the environment is over just because the oil stopped flowing,” continuing, “It’s going to take years of monitoring just to understand and start dealing with the long-term impacts of the oil—and they’re just part of a much bigger threat.”
Dr. Bancroft is already out there espousing the “It’s going to take years” mantra – here on NPR’s All Things Considered. Unfortunately, people are already being “fooled” and using the report to trumpet their short-term reality of outta sight, outta mind. Let’s face it, when you have the biggest bird group in the world suggesting – it’s not as bad as we thought – it’s a report-bite that will be taken out of context and sent in caps across cyberspace by all the same narrow minds that denounce cancer, climate change, and American obesity.
Maybe what the report should have been titled was, “It’s going to take years!”