In the spring of 2010, we watched oil gushing unstoppably into the
waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But as bad as the spill was, it is
only the latest chapter in a century-long story of destruction.
the height of BP's dispersant madness, the amount sprayed each day
merely equaled the amount of dispersant that washes down the Mississippi
from the Heartland's dishwashers and washing machines. Coastal drilling
has damaged the region's ecology far more than offshore drilling. And
the acres of marshland ruined by oil slicks can't compare to the amount
that disappears in every hurricane, due to the work of the Army Corps of
Engineers. Southern Louisiana is subsiding. Even if we succeed in
restoring every mile of beach and wetland from the oil spill, the entire
Mississippi Delta could be lost this century, and New Orleans will sink
beneath the waves, an American Atlantis.
the Gulf Coast by sailboat, skiff, car, and kayak, Jacobsen journeys
from the bayous of Terrebonne Parish, to the last shucking house in New Orleans's French
Quarter. He discovers a little-appreciated ecological wonder of breathtaking
natural beauty and rich culture struggling to hold on to the things that
have always sustained it.
Shadows on the Gulf
details the catastrophe creeping across the region and reveals why the
damage to the Gulf will affect us all. Not only are the Gulf's wetlands
the best oyster reefs and fish nurseries in the world, they also provide
critical habitat to most of America's migratory songbirds and
waterfowl. If the Gulf is allowed to fail, the effects will ripple