April 26, 1986. We were all looking down our noses at the Soviet Union as Chernobyl's radioactive plume billowed over Europe and forced evacuation in parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
We knew that only within the Iron Curtain could such a catastrophe be brought on by technological malpractice and bureaucratic indifference.
June 17, 2010. Estimates suggest that somewhere in the order of 80 million gallons of oil has billowed into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20.
That's a lot of oil, and the damage it will inflict on natural resources in the gulf and perhaps beyond may someday evoke comparisons with Chernobyl.
Unless, of course, we clean up the mess quickly and thoroughly.
Napoleon observed that "God is on the side of the big battalions," but that lesson has yet to be reflected in the cleanup effort. There are far too many photos of individuals and small groups, on beaches or marshes, seemingly toiling in isolation. Here and there we find the odd vessel or cluster of boats working along the horizon.
This is the biggest oil spill and potentially the most devastating manmade environmental disaster in history; we need cleanup crews reminiscent of the hordes of Ghengis Khan.
Perhaps the fact that we do not simply reflects the growing pains of a nascent mission. I am hopeful things will change in the days and weeks ahead, and that we'll see a force worthy of an invasion turned loose.
This is an awful mess, but it is quantifiable, and it is helpful to think of it that way. For example, as considerable an amount as 80 million gallons is, Maine's Sebago Lake, which has a surface area of 45 square miles, holds almost a trillion gallons, according to the local water authority. In other words, if Sebago were a tank, it would hold more than 12,500 times what has spilled so far — or what the Deepwater Horizon well would leak if uncontained for 2,000 years.
I don't mean to minimize the spill or understate the challenge implicit in cleaning it up, but to make the point that we can reckon with it if we remain committed to doing so with all the effort we can muster, until we are done.
There can be no, "We're doing all we can but at some point we will have to let nature take its course."
There can be no, "This, too, shall pass."
National Fisherman Live: 10/7/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about the 1929 dragger Vandal.
National Fisherman Live: 9/23/14
In this episode:
'Injection' plan to save fall run salmon
Proposed fishing rule to protect seabirds
Council, White House talk monument expansion
Louisiana shrimpers hurt by price drop
Maine and New Hampshire fish numbers down
NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.