All of us are concerned about the oil leak that continues to happen 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. As you might have read and heard, an oil rig exploded two weeks ago. Sadly, 11 workers are said to be missing or have perished. Certainly, our thoughts and prayers are with their families.
As the leak continues and British Petroleum and others work to arrest it, thousands of workers and volunteers have bravely committed themselves to minimizing the impact. Although the explosion and subsequent spill occurred a full 150 miles south of New Orleans, all of us are actively concerned about the well-being of the Gulf of Mexico and the vitality of our fishing industry.
While we would all prefer that this event not have occurred at all, it is worth noting that Loyola will be involved in the clean up effort and our university – its faculty and students – has and will continue to have a voice regarding environmental concerns on the coast.
As I was driving home late last week, there was Dr. Robert Thomas on NPR’s All Things Considered, where he is something of a regular. Dr. Bob, as he is known here, is a leading environmentalist and an expert in the field of environmental communication. He participates in our environmental studies minor. Learn about this and other environmental action at Loyola here.
Six of our biology faculty routine conduct field studies, with the help of students, on the Mississippi delta, Lake Ponchartrain, and other coastal ecosystems.
I debated writing this piece because I was not interested in seeming to take advantage of a difficult situation for the people who have likely lost their lives and the great people of Southern Louisiana, but students – both new and returning – and others have been asking how they can help. We even had a parent at a college fair tell us she was ready to come down here and “start cleaning off birds.” Ultimately, I wanted you to know that all is fine in New Orleans and that Loyola and New Orleans are ready to help our friends on the coast – through research, our education about environmental protection and recovery, and the many volunteer efforts that I am sure will ensue – should oil at last reach the coastline.
Stay tuned as this story – and Loyola’s involvement with it – develops.