Friday, February 25, 2011

Breaking Waves: Helping Fishermen in the Gulf

Nearly a year ago, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, resulting in more than 200 million gallons of oil plus methane and other hydrocarbons spilling into the Gulf. Marine and wildlife ecosystems were terribly damaged, and the fishing and coastal tourism industries have been devastated.

At last week's AAAS meeting in Washington DC, microbial geochemist Samantha Joye reported that the seafloor and its inhabitants had not nearly recovered when they made a dive last December:
Usually, there is a tremendous diversity of infaunal organisms on the bottom. Then, we began to see dead organisms like brittle stars. I noticed there were no holothurians (sea cucumbers) and these organisms are tremendously abundant at seeps. So, it was a grim view. We saw a few crabs but they did not look healthy and we saw oiled and dead corals.
There are some expedition photos on Joye's blog.

And it's not just the ocean depths that are affected. Frances Beinecke - president of the Natural Resources Defense Council and commissioner on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling - wrote in January:
Eight months have passed since the BP blowout, and still the damage and devastation continue. Tar balls continue to wash up along Gulf shores. Oil sheen trails in the wake of fishing boats. Wetlands marsh grass remains dying and fouled. Toxic crude lies offshore in deep water and in fine silts and sands onshore.

It's not clear how long it will take for the Gulf to recover - and it may never recover completely.

In the face of all that bleak news, I was pleased to discover that that the members of the Book View Cafe  have contributed to the recovery effort by creating the anthology Breaking Waves. The book is a collection of poetry, essays and fiction from award-winning science fiction and fantasy writers in support of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund.  The Fund focuses on helping fishermen and their families in the Louisiana Parishes most affected by the massive oil spill there.

The table of contents:
I've linked to a few of the entries you can read online to get a sense of the contents.

You can purchase a copy of the DRM-free e-book at the Book View Cafe, or the Kindle edition at Amazon.com. Proceeds go to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund.

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