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These Heroes Among Us

There are many, many people working to either save the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem or trying to get the images and message out about it. We all know that we cannot rely on our own government, MSM or British Petroleum to tell us the truth. The powerful cannot overcome the good. Right now it just seems that way. With photographers like Nick Zantop and Jerry Moran_Native New Orleans Photography and organizations like the American Birding Association and On Wings of Care willing to take risks and get dirty there is hope for the gulf and us.

This post is a small acknowledgement of the efforts of these amazing and diligent folk. Having spent time in Grand Isle, LA and experienced the worst environmental disaster in America’s history I am in awe of their dedication and continued energy.

This is a video of Nick’s photography of Grand Isle.

Graveyard of the Gulf – Grand Isle, Louisiana from Nick Zantop.

Here is an excerpt from Nick’s diary, Black Death, of the BP Tragedy.

The rocks along the pass continued to the north and I followed them. I felt as if I must surely have been somewhere that BP would not want anyone to see, but as an atv zoomed past me heading west its rider waved. With the lone rider past me and not a single soul in front of me, my racing heartbeat began to slow. Before long, my senses were overwhelmed by the unmistakable scent of death. I began to notice bones and bodies on and between the rocks, those of birds and fish. On a large rock, two young seagull chicks were baked into a pile of decaying skin and feathers. They were recent victims, perhaps only dead for a day. A few feet away, the large bones of a brown pelican and its oil stained feathers lay between rocks spotted with oil. Brown pelicans were just taken off the US federal endangered and threatened species list in November of last year. Just beyond the rocks, the beach began to open up, formed by sand that washes through the pass and collects along the rocks. This beach was completely drenched with crude oil and it looked as if a cleanup crew had never set foot there.

Here is a quote from Jerry Moran’s Journal about his travels and experiences with the "spill".

Yesterday is a day I will not forget anytime soon. I took a boat trip to Raccoon Island, which is about 20 miles south of Cocodrie, with a photog friend of mine Andy Levin. While covering the BP Oil Spill, Disaster, whatever they want to call it, from Venice to Fouchon over the past two months I have seen a lot of s…tuff, but nothing really prepared me for what I saw yesterday……..It is my impression that the farther away the oil has hit, the less attention it gets from BP. Raccoon Island is the largest Pelican Rookery in Louisiana, much larger that Queen Bess in Grand Isle or Cat Island. I have never been on the 2 islands in Grand Isle, but have wondered many times what was on them, besides the dead animals you could see from the boom, or the oiled garbage left on the shores by BP. Something else I have noticed at the Grand Isle rookeries on three visits over a 6 week period is that the population of the birds is declining steadily, specifically on my trip last week when a guesstimate would be a 60 to 70 % decline in mostly adults, leaving the young to fend for themselves in the oil and corexit infested waters. Some of my questions were answered yesterday on Racoon island, where death is everywhere and I mean everywhere, even though visible oil is much less an issue, which concerns me greatly. A lot of the birds that weren’t dead, were obviously poisoned, almost acting drunk and dazed. Some were hardly walking, and some were alive, but lying where they will surely expire, some were actually fighting each other for food(surely contaminated)…….It is really hard for me to believe that nothing can be done to curb what is no less than the extermination of our beloved state bird, along with thousands of other birds and animals. There are not many times where I have just stopped shooting and left….yesterday was one of those day’s.

And here are some examples of Jerry’s photography.

Images from The Gulf Coastcopyright 2005-2010

Thanks to all of the people who brave BP and toxins and our government to bring us the facts..

UPDATE from Nick Zantop concerning the work being done by the National Guard on the Gulf Coast.

The guard troops were some of the only people I saw who were consistently putting in 110% to everything.
They have airlifted tens of millions of pounds of sandbags to create a barrier against the oil (unfortunately this isn’t proving to be as effective as hoped, as it seems that oil is still able to slip through many of these areas) and on Grand Isle alone they completed an 8.2 mile long stretch of inflatable, water-filled Tiger Dam to keep oil from migrating farther up the beach. If only everyone else involved was able to move as efficiently as the Guard.

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