TONIGHT: Can the Gulf Survive? [National Geographic]

I like National Geographic. I enjoy reading their magazine and watching their TV channel. Whenever I go to a place with cable, I locate where the National Geographic, History, and Discovery channels are.  Yes Virginia, I am a museum geek.  But because I am also into energy, I was excited to hear about National Geographic Explorer’s new show on the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

The new documentary, Can the Gulf Survive?, by National Geographic is about an hour long. If you want to watch something that will give you a very quick overview of the Deepwater Horizon spill, I recommended this. National Geographic does get to take their cameras to places others have not gone.  The go into one of the region command centers where the clean up and containment of the spill was being directed. They also get to go on the NOAAS Thomas Jefferson (more about that later).

Controlled Burn June 9
Controlled Burn June 9 by Deepwater Horizon Response on Flickr.

National Geographic does a good job of balancing the show.  They get the point of view and input from all the different organizations and companies involved.  We get to hear from BP, the Coast Guard, what was Mineral Management, NOAA, and even a journalist.

The show begins with the final capping of the well, then goes back to the beginning of the oil spill and takes you through a timeline of events.  The documentary does not cover the cause of the blow out, just the steps that were taken to stop the crude oil from flowing and what was done to disperse it.

You  see a boat’s eye view of the oil being lit on fire and a planes eye view of using the dispersants.  At the end they talk a little about the future of the ecosystem with all the added chemicals.  Even though the oil is dispersed, it does not mean it has suddenly disappeared.  It means that instead of clumped together and visible, it has been broken up into quantities too small to see.  Also, an unprecedented amount of dispersants were used and those chemicals are now in the ocean.  It will be interesting to see what the long term consequence of all those chemicals will be.

Now back to my favorite part – the NOAAS Thomas Jefferson.  Unbeknownst to most people (or at least to me until last year) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operates a commissioned officer core.  This means that there is a branch of the uniformed services (Army, Navy, Marines, etc) that is charged with gathering scientific data (hydrological, geological, atmospheric, etc) and doing research.  So this show was the first time I’ve gotten to see video from a NOAA ship.  I’m sure more is out there, but outside of running across it on the History, Discovery, or the NatGeo (National Geographic) channels, I may not see more of it.

The documentary is a good quick overview of the Deep Water Horizon spill cleanup.  It covers the major attempt to try to stop the oil from coming up into the ocean as well as the steps to disperse what made it to the surface.  It even talks about how the spill will effect the future of the gulf. I recommend watching this.  It premieres tonight on NatGeo – check your local listing for the time.

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About Daniel

An inveterate punster, amateur chef, and fencer, Daniel B has a double degree in History and Museum Science from Baylor. He currently serves as the Assistant Program Coordinator for the Wiess Energy Hall and Adult Education at HMNS.

2 thoughts on “TONIGHT: Can the Gulf Survive? [National Geographic]

  1. Does any one find it at all suspicious that no one wants to explain in detail how three different safety switches failed, including a remote shut off switch located on shore? Mind you, I’m not pointing figures or suggesting any foul play, but I’m not ruling it out either. And it might just be that I don’t understand what exactly happened, but someone does and I would just like it to be explained. Because the cause of what happened is just as important as the conclusion. Power is knowledge and ignorance is a dangerous form of bliss.

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