Thanks to Neil Conan and the other researching journalists at NPR's Talk of the Nation, we will not soon allow the BP oilspill aftermath to sink into obscurity. God knows there were too many manmade dead zones already in the Gulf of Mexico before this catastrophe came along. The process of assessing the damage and cleaning up the mess will go on for years or even decades. With responsible reporting like the NPR crew of Talk of the Nation provide, we inquisitive citizens of the USA and the world can monitor the ongoing corrective measures and contribute to them as time goes by.
Among the many important and timely questions dealt with on Thursday's podcast, the one that most fascinated me was the possibility of some marine organisms "eating oil." If this is true, and if such a thing really happens, then I say thank God that there are flora and fauna out there in the deep recesses of our planet that can (at least begin to) alleviate or to some extent neutralize the destructive effects of our homo sapienic abuses and excesses.
One caller, Jeanine, a biologist in Arkansas, expressed her surprise (and mine as well) that some marine organisms would consume oil. Dr. Ian McDonald (of Florida State University and also the Florida Oilspill Academic Task Force)explained that some deep ocean species of sea cucumbers, anemones, and urchins will ingest organic substances that fall to the sea floor, such as the "marine snow" and other manifestations of flocculated oil that have been collected by Samantha Joye and her research from the University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences.
Dr. McDonald tempered his hope that bottom-dwelling species could eat oil by mentioning that the immensity of the spill may overwhelm these oil-eaters with toxicity. Only time and testing will tell.
Thursday's radiocast ended with Neil Conan's brief, respectful tribute to the eleven workers whose lives were lost in the Deepwater Horizon accident of April 20th. They are: Jason Anderson, Dale Burkeen, Donald Clark, Stephen Curtis, Gordon Jones, Roy Wyatt Kemp, Karl Kleppinger, Blair Manuel, Dewey Revette. Shane Roshto and Adam Weise.
Those men perished, no doubt, in their last earthly strivings to prevent an explosive disaster of immense proportions. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of muckraking scientists, engineers, journalists and many other vigilant contibutors, their last-minute efforts to stop the destruction will not have been in vain.