Flying Fish

When We Forget to Remember
by Nicole Carlozo -- April 19th, 2012

It’s been 2 years since an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig and into the Gulf of Mexico. The incident highlighted the plight of all Gulf States. But when was the last time you thought about our southern neighbors?

I’m going to admit it. I go to school in North Carolina, my MP focuses on North Carolina estuaries, and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about other states (at least not lately). But this week, the Duke student chapter of the America Fisheries Society (DukeFish) sponsored a screening of the film Veins in the Gulf.

This 78 minute film addresses the ecological and political troubles of Louisiana, from wetland and land loss to flooding and hurricanes. The filmmakers use maps, images, poetry, and interviews with scientists, musicians, engineers, and local people to highlight the state’s difficult situation. Too often enough, words and pleas are forgotten. Images, however, are harder to forget.

When I think about Louisiana, the BP oil spill usually comes to mind. Ironically, the spill occurred 7 years after filming began. So what were the filmmakers documenting before that horrendous event?

Louisiana’s coastlines are rapidly disappearing as storm intensity increases and limited sediment transfer from the Mississippi River makes shoreline accretion unlikely.  Oil and gas drilling leads to unnatural marsh canals and contributes to land subsidence. Furthermore, community after community is impacted by flooding events.

Yet, most people only equate Louisiana’s troubles with the BP oil spill. I admit that I use to be one of those people. And as the oil spill is forgotten by the masses, so are the troubles of Louisiana – the people, bayous and fisheries.

What can we do to keep people from forgetting? I think the answer lies in communication – written and visual. Nicholas School MEMs have become involved in such efforts through summer internships and Masters Projects. As we move on to the next steps in our careers, we just can’t forget to remember.

Predicted future land loss in Louisiana. Photo courtesy of



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