Our waters, our responsibility

In the past four months, support and research from communities worldwide have attempted to clean up the country’s worst offshore oil spill. The recent BP oil spill has become more than a tragedy. Not only has it raised awareness globally, but it has also stimulated several communities to launch efforts to save wildlife habitats as well as prepare for the long-term consequences of this ecological disaster.

Over the summer, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) sent out a 96-foot catamaran near the Deepwater Horizon site with a research team of both faculty and students to study undersea plumes of oil. In fact, the ship’s team was the first to learn about an unknown oil slick off Florida’s southwest coast. The tracking map graphically showed a black oil slick encircling Key West and our very own Miami area.

If this oil spill becomes worse than it already is and spreads to our area, why is public interest in the spill and its implications fading? Why are we considering this significant issue “yesterday’s news?”

Although RSMAS continues to put forth efforts toward this disastrous situation, the general student body may have forgotten the oil spill’s large impact on the environment and the residents of the Gulf Coast. We must stop avoiding reality and realize how much damage is being done to our own home.

We cannot rely on Mother Nature alone to take care of this disastrous situation that has already devastated fisheries, wildlife and recreation along the Gulf Coast and that could possibly do the same here. This issue will never be old news.

The amount of damage done to our waters and our coast is inestimable; it is the responsibility not only of the people who use these waters, but of our nation as a whole, to insist that a disaster of this magnitude never happen again. As a means of fulfilling our duty, we must remember to support those trying to reverse the damage of the spill (including our own Canes) and be willing to lend a helping hand.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.