On April 20 of 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began. By the time technicians could bring it under control, it had dumped 134,000,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. Ten years after this disaster, we still see the effects in ways that no one would have expected. The entire issue of National Wildlife for February-March 2020 was devoted to new data on the long-range damage.
There is far more involved in this disaster than the removal of the obvious symptoms of the spill. Even on a commercial level, the damage is more than most people realize. Oyster production from Apalachicola to Galveston has collapsed. Louisiana has lost well over 50 million dollars in oyster harvest revenue. Scientists studying the oyster beds tell us that 8.3 billion oysters died as a result of the spill. A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. When explorers came to the Gulf of Mexico between 1600 and 1800, they described the oyster beds as “the Great Barrier Reef of the Americas,” nearly 100 miles long and several miles deep. Oyster shells are used to make mortar, build roadbeds, and to supplement chicken feed. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has changed all of that.
The massive killing of wildlife has been well-publicized with pathetic pictures still showing up on the web. Does the killing of 30,000 loggerhead turtles, 17% of the Bryde’s whales, 800,000 coastal birds, a vast number of dolphins who are still having lung problems, and 20% of all corals in the area have any significance for those of us living far from the Gulf of Mexico? Most of us eat shrimp, crabs, lobsters, and fish. Much of the fishing industry in the Gulf has gone out of business, and those still existing are hard-pressed to find enough seafood to make a living. That results in higher prices and the risk of pollution effects on what we eat.
So why are we reminding our readers of the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? Skeptics criticize any notion of God creating the Earth by saying that if there is a God, He didn’t do a very good job. Humans are threatened with shortages of food and water. In my mail yesterday, I received 16 different requests from organizations wanting financial help in feeding and helping hungry children and starving families. (By the way, all of them were faith-based). Why are there shortages? Human greed, selfishness, ignorance, desire for power, and refusal to live as God told us to has resulted in destructive wars, mismanagement of resources, waste of incredible proportions, and foolish and irresponsible management of resources.
When God created the Earth, He provided for an abundance of food and water. God also told us how to live. Read Matthew 25:34-40 and see how Christ portrayed Christian living. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is just one human failure, but look at what it has done to innocent humans. We are just beginning to understand the biological damage and effects. We cannot blame God for what humans have done. God has given us all we need and the means of taking care of it. Christians must lead the way in the responsible use of God’s gifts.
— John N. Clayton © 2020