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June 1, 2010

Witnessing Mother Earth bleeding

by Kurt Lieber Sea Shepherd Board Member

Bonny and KurtAfter 2 days of flying from Los Angeles to New Orleans, Bonny Schumaker and I took our first flight over the bayou of Louisiana.  This is where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  Bonny and I flew in her Cessna 180 so we could observe first hand, the true impact the oil disaster has been inflicting on the waters of the Gulf by British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizontal oil rig that caught fire and then sank on Earth Day, April 22nd.

We were instructed by the aviation control tower to not fly beneath 3,000 feet.  This made it difficult to see any birds or wildlife in any detail.  But as we flew over Grand Isle we saw a very disturbing sight.  There was a red splotch on the water that stretched for 2-3 miles.  As we got closer you could tell that it was oil.  This was not a sheen, but rather a lot like paint when it has been spilt on the floor.  It had thickness to it, and was changing shape with every wave and current that swept through it.

At one point as I was shooting video of the entire mess, I saw a flock of beautiful White Pelicans flying in a V formation, about 15 individuals in total.  I was hoping against hope that they wouldn’t be affected by the toxic stew they were flying over.  Not to be.  With a sinking heart I saw each one of them dive right into the oil.  I did not see any of them return to flight.

As we headed back to our airport, I was speechless.  Bonny asked me some questions and for about 10 minutes I couldn’t talk.  Humans have punctured a hole in Mother Earths mantle.  Now she is bleeding oil into the oceans at a rate of something like 60,000 barrels a day.

This was day one of our campaign to flesh out what is actually going on in the Gulf.  BP is doing their best to keep the ugly news out of the daily press.  We are here to tell the world what is not being told.