Posted by: Doc Bruce | June 26, 2010

A Gulf Celebration

All too often, when a friend or loved one is stricken by severe, chronic illness they become a victim in our mind.  Their misery and plight overshadows our memory of them as a vibrant, cherished individuals.  It is a natural reaction – to bear so much concern that it wholly morphs how we perceive them.  They become their malady.

To be most helpful to them, we must penetrate that shroud of grief to again allow them, in our mind, to be the one we have know and cherished: With a disease, but not to have become that disease.

The Gulf of Mexico has been stricken by a severe malady in the past month.  And, it appears that it very well may be a chronic one with long-ranging effects.  In order to more fully help to understand the challenges before and to help us more effectively heal the Gulf of Mexico, we need to penetrate the veil of grief that alters our view of that ocean basin.  It is not an oil spill; it is a magnificent ocean that has an oil spill.

Over the next few days, our goal is to help us recall many of the wonderful things about the Gulf of Mexico, or for the first time, introduce you to many of the wonderful aspects of the Gulf of Mexico.  It is our goal to move us through the paralysis of grief to the more healthy stage of support and healing.

In oceanography, a mediterranean sea is a mostly enclosed ocean basin with limited exchange of deep water with outer oceans and where the water circulation is dominated by salinity and temperature differences rather than winds.  The Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea together are known as the American Mediterranean.

The Gulf of Mexico Basin. The light green represents shallow areas, the deep blue are deeper areas.

The Gulf of Mexico has large regions of relatively shallow water.  In fact, about 40% of the Gulf of Mexico is less than 60 feet deep.  This plethora of shallow water habitats, allow it to be a very biologically productive area.  This biology provides many ecosystem services, which include the many fishes exploited by humans.

In 2000, harvest of fish and shellfish from the U.S. Gulf states was estimated to be 1.7 billion pounds – about 20% of total domestic landings.  This commercial fishing represented approximately $900 million.  Excluding Texas, U.S. Gulf States accounted for over 40% (>104,000 lbs) of the U.S. recreational finfish harvest in 2000. From Gulfbase.org.

It will take time, devotion and commitment to restore the Gulf to its vibrant health so vital to our society.  This restoration is crucial, but equally important, we must avoid a future of similar damages to the Gulf and our other oceans.

To conserve the Gulf of Mexico for generations to come, we must change how we use energy in our country; we must demand (of ourselves and our society) that we embark on path to use less energy and obtain it from renewable sources.

We desperately need a unifying goal for our country – to build nationalism, the economy and our future – let’s make it energy: if for no other reason, for our dear friend, the Gulf of Mexico.

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