Yesterday a student asked me if the devastation from 2010’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is “over.” The answer of course is no. Not by a long shot. When the spill happened, we could only observe the immediate effects: Birds drenched in oil, spoiled fisheries, and the hardships faced by many people living and working in the region. Longer term impacts will be more difficult to evaluate and we don’t know how resilient the system will be. Studies will likely continue for decades and despite all of the news coverage over the summer, I hope we do not grow complacent about what’s occurred–as we so often do when it comes to the marine realm. Please folks, remember the Gulf, and let’s do our best to make sure it never happens again.
This is a guest post from Melissa Lott, a dual-degree graduate student in Mechanical Engineering and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work includes a unique pairing of engineering and public policy in the field of energy systems research. Melissa has worked for YarCom Inc. as an engineer and consultant in energy systems and systems design. She has previously worked for the Department of Energy and the White House Council on Environmental Quality for the Obama Administration. She is a graduate of the University of California at Davis, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biological Systems Engineering. Melissa is also the author of the blog Global Energy Matters: Energy and Environment in Our Lives.
It has been almost two months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank to the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, a continuous stream of oil has contaminated our ocean and coastline, resulting in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Efforts have been made to stop the flow of oil, but the solutions with the highest likelihood of success are still months from possible execution. This has left us with the troubling question of what we can do to minimize the negative environmental impacts of this oil. In particular, how do we clean up the massive quantities of oil already in the water? As it turns out, the answer to this might be found in Hollywood. Read More