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."
Callifornia crabbing: Here's a fun video shot on the decks of the Majestik while catching Dungeness crab off the coast of northern California.
Over 500 lots of seafood processing equipment formerly owned by Adak Seafood will be sold at auction on Tuesday, June 18, starting at 10 a.m. Hawaiian-Aleutian Daylight Time at the Hilton Garden Inn in Anchorage Alaska.
The equipment is located in a recently updated 250,000 square foot state-of-the-art processing facility in Adak, Alaska. Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Hilco Industrial, which conducts 75 machinery and equipment auctions in a wide range of industries annually, will conduct the auction.
Adak Seafood opened originally as Ada Fisheries in Anchorage in 1986. The facility, updated in 2005, is located on the island of Adak, the southernmost city in Alaska near the western end of the Aleutian Islands. The facility processed cod primarily, as well as halibut, blackcod, crab and pollock, Hilco says.
Alaska fisherman and commercial fisheries activist Kevin Adams was elected chairman at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors meeting on May 9 in Anchorage.
The governor-appointed board consists of seven members: five seafood processors and two industry representatives actively engaged in commercial fishing. Adams was appointed to fill a harvester seat by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004.
With 38 years of fishing experience in Bristol Bay, Adams has long been an active member in the Alaska fishing industry, ASMI says. He has worked for both the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and the Bering Sea Fisherman's Association, and represents Alaska fishermen on numerous boards.