We all know oil spills are harmful to the environment but are you aware of how slimy of a situation these spills can actually be for animals? Did you ever think about how oil might travel through the food chain? Sadly, the effects of oil on marine wildlife, as well as on terrestrial organisms that interact with marine species, are devastating.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was responsible for the death of up to 435,000 birds. The Deepwater Horizon spill impacted over 7,000 birds and the total number of birds that die as a result of contact with oil or chemicals used in the clean-up is unknown. Fish that are exposed to oil have exhibited weakened immune systems, enlarged livers, and fin erosion. Additionally, Bottlenose dolphin populations are still struggling to recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Bottlenose dolphins have been reduced by half, and according to researchers at St. Andrews, it will take 40 years for that population to recover. The ripple effect of oil spill damage is endless.
In Lansing, Michigan, there is a proposed oil pipeline named the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline that would go through the Great Lakes. Understandably, the proposed pipeline is not sitting well with many who are concerned about the impact on this marine. This week the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board held a meeting to discuss the pipeline and one grandfather, Fred Harrington, and his grandson, Riley Sargent, decided to get theatrical to make their point.
The pair slipped into the bathroom during the meeting and covered themselves in chocolate batter. When they returned, all eyes were on them. Their point? They wanted to show the board what birds and fish would look like if the pipeline breaks.
“We wanted show you what the birds will look like, what the fish will look like, what the shoreline will look like if that pipeline breaks,” Harrington said.
“If we continue to let it run and run and run year after year, it will break,” continued Harrington, a member of the Odawa tribe and former U.S. Navy submarine veteran.
Harrington’s statements were followed by more than an hour of public comments from various 260 people, not including media, board members, and state staff. And Harrington and his grandson weren’t the only outspoken activists of the pipeline. According to a report in MLive, outside the meeting, members of various Chippewa tribes from northern Michigan and Wisconsin held protesting signs calling for the pipeline to be shut down. The Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy attempted to defend its Line 5 pipeline, stating the infrastructure located at the bottom the Straits of Mackinac was in good shape despite recent reports indicating coating failures.
We love seeing this innovative way a man and his grandson spoke out against big oil. By now you’re probably feeling like you want to get active. Here are some great places to start:
- Support the National Wildlife Fund’s efforts to restore damage done to the Gulf Coast.
- Help the Sierra Club put a stop to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- End Big Oil’s reign of terror by divesting from fossil fuels.
- Learn more about sustainable alternatives to Big Oil and spread the word!
Image Source: MLive/YouTube