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A Community Wide Look at the Impact of the Oil Spill

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 21 Nov 2010 09:54am | comments

The aftermath of the oil spill has prompted a number of studies and conferences on the environmental impacts, but MPB’s Phoebe Judge reports on a conference which dealt with affects on the community.

Deanne Nuwer, history professor and head of the Katrina Research Center at the University of Southern Mississippi says the point of the oil spill conference held Friday in Ocean Springs was to highlight the fact that the Deepwater Horizon spill has not only affected the environment but has touched the Gulf Coast community as a whole,

“You are affecting peoples livelihood, and with that ripple effect you are looking at rent, you are looking at groceries, you are looking at everything that is being impacted because of this one disaster, particularly in this Gulf Coast region where so much of our culture is water based.”

And so while there were lectures about the environmental impacts of the spill, they went alongside short documentary films about the oil affects made by film students at USM. In the buildings kitchen, a dozen women mainly fishermen’s wives demonstrated Vietnamese cooking techniques using Gulf seafood. Angel Trong is head of the group Asian Americans for Change,

“This is what they have depended on. The kids love to go fishing here, and the parents love to go fishing here, and so that is there way of life. If there is no seafood it just stirs up everything, it stirs up their whole lifestyle.”

There was also art made to feature the impacts of the spill. Beach collages mounted in black frames made by Ocean Springs high school students, featuring found oyster shells and pelican feathers. Teacher Dr. Judy Dalgo says the students were completely invested in the project,

“Even though the oil seems to have disappeared, the consequences are going to be long term that this isn’t going to go away. They are concerned about how this is going to impact them and their children in the future.”

Participants say this will not be the last time the community comes together to show just how deeply the oil spill has been felt.

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