Thursday, July 01, 2010
Gulf journals: 'What can you do?'

 

Karen Baker, a self-described army brat, has lived in many places, such as Germany and North Carolina, to name a couple. But when she was 8 years old, she moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and has lived there ever since.

 

“The people here are so friendly. There is nothing more relaxing than going down to the beach and watching the sunset and the birds and what used to be the sweet smell of the sea,” she said.

 

Baker, who proudly calls herself a beach bum and tree-hugger, said that until this week, she visited the beach each day no matter how hot or cold it was. Now, it’s been a couple days since Baker last visited. She said that it was mentally difficult to be at the beach last Tuesday and see the oil wash up on shore. Baker remains hopeful that the Gulf will survive through this disaster, but says that the oil leak needs to be stopped before the region can begin to move on.

 

“There’s a sense of hopelessness about this. After a hurricane you can do something, before a hurricane you can do something, but after this, what can you do really? I guess we aren’t used to being in a position where we don’t know what to do with something like this. We will figure it out, but at this point we are taking it day by day.”

 

Baker has worked at C.F. Gollott & Son Seafood, a seafood processor, since August 1991, and she is fearful of the possibility of her losing her job and the company going under due to the price of seafood doubling because of the oil disaster.

 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Baker said. “In these situations you don’t really know what the future will be.”

 

The company, which has been around since 1932, gets all its seafood from the Gulf and it is one of the only processors left in the area. She said that the other factories in the area have either closed up or have decided to rely on imports for their seafood.

 

Baker is also very worried about the effects that the oil will have the birds that have made the Gulf their home for so many years.

 

Lately she’s noticed fewer birds around Gulfport. “Usually the area of this beach is home to black skimmers, seagulls, sandpipers and plovers,” she said. “They just aren't there and haven't been for a few weeks.”

 

Starting tomorrow, Baker will be volunteering at Pascagoula River Audubon, a society that coordinates rescue efforts for oiled birds. She said she’s glad to help during such a difficult time.

 

“It makes me feel better that I can do a little bit,” Baker said. “The Gulf coast has been a safe haven for many birds and they aren’t safe now. They have always been there, even after Katrina, the bird and the sea has always been there.”

 

Editor's Note: This blog post is part of a series of profiles of Gulf Coast residents and visitors directly affected by the oil disaster. If you'd like to share your story, you can upload photos and videos to CNN iReport.

13 Comments
July 1, 2010
Click to view Citizen1776's profile

So who thinks these storms can disperse the oil enough that it doesn't choke out the shore lines and wildlife?

Since our government can't handle this, May God Help Us!

July 1, 2010
Click to view mombo322's profile

"So who thinks these storms can disperse the oil enough that it doesn't choke out the shore lines and wildlife?

Since our government can't handle this, May God Help Us!"

 

I was thinking the same thing earlier today...

July 1, 2010
Click to view Kentwaboon's profile

Yes this is all good but who stood up to the oil companies and said we need to be prepared more of problem. These are also the same people when there is over fishing they do not want to stop fishing either. They in turn are part of the problem when will they stand up for what is right and not just how to make the cheapest dollar.

July 1, 2010
Click to view Jake106's profile

Kentwaboon- It is honestly better to figure it out late, than not at all. Human nature is to not believe in something until you see it. Now that people are seeing with their own eyes how poetentially harmful this kind of drilling can be to the environment, more of them will stand up against off-shore drilling. It doesn't stop this leak, of course, but it can help prevent the next one from ever occuring.

July 1, 2010
Click to view ames615's profile

Damage is done now we should move forward stop playing blaming games we choose government they play with laws so as much it is our folt to. 300.Million people,live here we need solutions not a blames. God said if you do not keep your self out of harms ways I cant do it niether

July 1, 2010
Click to view Tesla2010's profile

What we need to do about the oil in the gulf is to stop wasteing money on the war and bring our troops home and to then use the money to pay for cleaning up the oil. After that we need to use a source of energy other than oil. The best way to solve our energy crisis is to stop using oil and start using electricity for our cars. After all, there are electric cars. So whats the problem? Why can't everyone have an electric car? The solution to our energy problem is to use technology that a man named Nikola Tesla invented. Tesla had an idea of a world system. This system would broadcast free electrical power all around the world for free. How is it free you may be wondering? Well the way it is free is that it is a very large amount of electrical energy. It is very safe because the electrical charge is high in the sky. It is drawn down to earth and used as electrical power for homes and public places. It is a tower that is made of wooden planks with a copper dome on top. It is 154 feet high. 154ft in the sky is a layer called the ionosphere. In the ionosphere lightning is created. Lightning and electricity or (AC) power are the same thing, the only difference is quantity. Lightning is a natural and very good energy source, it is also a clean energy source. We should start using Tesla's energy system for free energy. We have to do research about Tesla's inventions.              

July 1, 2010
Click to view JacqueBauer's profile

Have you seen the beaches of Santa Barbara lately?  Have you seen Prince William Sound lately?  Both are pristine and beautiful despite having similarly devasting oil spills in the past.  So don't get all Al Gore doom & gloom on us and get your facts straight - Mother Nature is better than that!

July 1, 2010
Click to view ffotoragg's profile

yeah jacquebauer-have you seen in prince william sound3" under the surface on any beach up there-you find buried oilthe people can't fish anymorethe fishing industry collapsed and hasn't come back-check things out first---stupid

July 1, 2010
Click to view josephcecil's profile

STOP THE DISPERSANTS.  only Obama can stop this crazyness and he's doing nothing, biden could, but he's a wussy of the first order.  i voted for obama and am shocked how flat footed they are, not doing almost anything.  the coast could have been completely preserved - BY NOT TRUSTING BP, EARLY DETERMINATION OF 40,000+barrels per day, NO WASTED TIME WITH TOP KILL OR TOP HAT1 OR EVEN TOP HAT 2, move DIRECTLY TO containment and pumping out oil.. but NO!! BP HAS RUN THE SHOW the whole time, STILL TRYING TO HIDE THE OIL.  but the beaches prove they are lying, the ocean chemistry will PROVE THE 'experiment' results will be broken life chain, broken food chain.  the dispersed oil is so great it will taint the bay - unless wise creative people make huge filtering bouys - thousands of them, like water-filter-jellyfish, cleaning out the water in the bay.   DISPERSANT WILL PERSIST ALSO, gosh we have inept leaders right now - OBAMA SHOULD SEE THE DISPERSANT IS A PROBLEM.  the oil is bad enough, the dispersant is bad in this quantity - and at the BOTTOM OF THE FOOD CHAIN!! under the water.  it's really hurtful to life, and it's not an experiment anymore - we already know it's got to stop today - Obama are you listening?  Someone get Lady Gaga to ask him again!!!!  

July 1, 2010
Click to view Phantasia's profile

You can decide to take a stand and say you're going to change your individual ways going forward -

 

It's time to stop saying "THEY" and start saying "WE". All we do is look for a company - a President - or someone else to blame. We are collectively living in these times and we are all collectively responsible for where we go from here. Each one of us needs to make changes - we need to embrace new technology as it comes along as much as possible to lower the demand for oil - otherwise they will have to keep drilling in more and more dangerous places. Having to transition away from oil is slow, but it's sure. Inevitable. It isn't about global warming, it is about a finite resource that fuels our way of life - including the ability to fuel the food production needed to feed our population as it stands.

 

People want to talk about a sense of entitlement - too many of us have a sense of entitlement to cheap energy welfare. It's time to step up and help work for our own future rather than depending on corporations to drill, baby, drill and keep us from having to make any effort.

 

There are new technologies being rolled out and people are stubbornly resisting embracing them. Out with the old in with the new. There are SO many things every one of us can do for no cost, and in some cases save money by doing them. It's as easy as changing habits.

 

We each need to do what we can, with what we have, where we are. That means, just because you NEED to keep your car, doesn't mean you can't start taking your own bags to the grocery store. People keep shouting hypocrite at people who drive, but ignore the fact that they've made all these other changes to their lives. Have you done the same?! Have you REALLY?!  And if not you should probably shut up.  So many Americans are doing their part - helping to curb our dependence on oil through small actions and through donations to research for sustainable energy that will HELP you in the end too - you don't want to pitch in?  Then at least have some respect for those who are doing what you are too lazy to bother doing yourself, and what Republicants won't let us do in Washington. THIS, MY FRIENDS, IS A REAL GRASSROOTS EFFORT!

 

"Individual action, multiplied by millions, creates global change."

 

THAT IS WHERE THE HOPE LIES AFTER THIS! GET TO IT!!!

July 1, 2010
Click to view katiefacemom's profile

Well said, Phantasia! Thank you so much for saying the most important thing I've read today. And just for the record, it's time to stop blaming, shaming, yelling, & pointing fingers regarding this oil spill. There is all the time in the world for it AFTER WE FIX THE PROBLEM! Nobody seems to be saying that the most important thing right this minute is to stop the leak! Personally, I don't think the ocean will ever be the same again. And for sure, the peoples' lives this horror has dessimated won't be. My heart goes out to all of you, truly. My prayers are with you too.

July 1, 2010
Click to view liberty18's profile

how bout we stop supporting third world countrys and keep the troops fighting for our freedom in the middle east and use that money to clean up the oil spill stop blaming our goverment you dont like it get out

July 13, 2010
Click to view xiaobao's profile

Have you seen the beaches of Santa Barbara lately?  Have you seen Prince William Sound lately?  Both are pristine and beautiful despite having similarly devasting oil spills in the past.  So don't get all Al Gore doom & gloom on us and get your facts straight - Mother Nature is better than that!

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