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What I want, and don’t want, to see on my next trip to a major aquarium …

May 16th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Despite the horrific nature of the massive man-made volcano of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the utter absence of discussion of the evolving disaster in work and social environments has been a striking contrast to the virtual blogosphere world. Not once this month, without my starting the conversation, has Gulf oil been discussed: even when talking / working with people who live / work within miles of the Gulf Coast. More than once, after starting a conversation, someone commented along the lines “but, I thought it was getting better” or “doesn’t BP have this under control”. Even with weak (and often misleading) traditional media attention, a more accurate understanding is not far out of reach … it is unclear how many Americans are reaching.

Right now, to a tremendous extent, the havoc in the Gulf of Mexico remains in the ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ category since so much of the risk is well below the surface, far out-of-reach of the (ineffective) oil booms and boats skimming (minimal amounts of) oil off the surface. A straight-forward question: How to help Americans understand and visualize what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico?

Truly, other than some National Geographic show (if they watch that), a scene from a movie, or a trip to an aquarium, underwater is out-of-sight, out-of-mind for most of humanity.

Now, this makes me wonder whether the aquariums across the country are collaborating for major discussion of the impacts of oil dumping on the undersea environment and on sea life.

Thus …

Here is a thought … here is what I and think blue and others would like to see (and, since it would be painful, perhaps not prefer seeing) as an exhibit at all the nation’s aquariums …

  • Dedicate a tank to demonstrate the effect of an oil gush from the bottom and of adding dispersant under water.
  • Pump crude oil and gas from the bottom of the tank, add some dispersant, and have a webcam document the result.
  • Let the fish and vegetation die … have dying and dead fish within the tank.
  • Have this contaminated tank be surrounded by tanks with coral and other sea life representative of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Give free tickets to journalists (and their families)
  • Have a web cam running 24/7, documenting what is going on, and perhaps holding an environmental film contest to see what people can make of using these webcam materials to help foster public understanding of the oilpocalyse
  • And, promote real-world solutions for helping reduce the potential for future disasters … to end our oil addiction.

This might make some news and open some eyes … and have an impact.

Aquariums are sites of entertainment but, more fundamentally, also sites for communicating the complexities and science related to the marine environment, its ecosystems, its life. Providing a tool for educating about the very serious threats to those ecosystems should be on the top of the agenda for every aquarium director around the country.

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Tags: environmental · oil · OilApocalypse · oilpocalyse · political symbols · pollution

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Does BP stand for Begging for Pennies? // Aug 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    […] (See, for example, Seeking tools to express outrage and a call for justice: “Prosecute BP” and What I want, and don’t want, to see on my next trip to a major aquarium …)  With this in mind, one has to wonder about BP’s real intentions as to advertising at this […]