Transocean Development Driller rigs in squall at Deepwater Horizon disaster site.
It has taken not much more than half a century to turn the Gulf of Mexico into an Urban Ocean, dotted with 27,000 abandoned wells, and nearly 4,000 active platforms, interconnected by an incredible 40,000km of pipelines. At sea, no matter where you are in the northern Gulf of Mexico, you can see the blinking lights of an oil platform, a small steel city unto itself, or perhaps a rusting ghost town. The Deepwater Horizon disaster, in April 2010 drew attention to this industrialisation of the Gulf, and hinted to the public the existence a scarred landscape that exists just over the horizon from the shorelines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. In September 2010, I worked on board a Greenpeace ship carrying out research to measure the impact of the oil spill, from where I got to observe the oil rigs drafted into the Deepwater Horizon site dwarfed by powerful rainstorms, and the wildlife that still prevails – the hummingbirds, the sperm whales, the flying fish and the powerful rainstorms.
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