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How is the Deepwater Disaster a Geographical Event?

How is the Deep Water Disaster a Geographical Event?


The BP oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20,2010. Known as the Deep Water Disaster, it was an event that subjected place, location, human-environment interaction, movement, and region to change. Therefore, it was a geographical event. It grabbed headlines throughout the summer of 2010 as the oil continued to spread in the gulf and into many other areas by way of rivers. The spill resulted in dangerous environmental conditions, fear of permanent ecological damage, and extensive job loss in the Louisiana Bayou. This disaster affected and continues to affect the world in serious ways.
In the place and location where the BP oil spill occurred, it affected the lives of animals, humans, and plants that lived there; diminishing natural resources. For example, in “Forlorn in the Bayou” it talks about the effect it had on the seafood industry. In the article, it stated that one-third of the United States oyster and shrimp harvest comes out of the waters along the Louisiana coast. The BP oil spill caused the oyster and shrimp industries to shut down, causing many other businesses (restaurants, factories etc.) to also shut down. In addition, many businesses closed due to concerns about the health risks associated with contaminated seafood. For many people that meant the loss of jobs as well as an important food source. An example from the article is, “That night a fresh pulse of oil hit Barataria Bay. A day later the state health department closed the oyster grounds. Jurisich Oysters LLC was out of business. “ This illustrates the disaster to its full extent; a large company shut down meaning loss of jobs.
Human-Environment interaction can result in changing ecosystems. This occurred as a result of the Deep Water Disaster. After the oil spill, human attempts to clean it up caused further, unintended, damage to wildlife in the gulf’s waters. Large numbers of birds, whales, fish, and other water creatures died because of diseases and physical deformities caused by exposure to oil. Many organizations tried to solve these problems by rescuing animals and cleaning them. This act actually helped increased the number of animals that survived. Thus the human-environment interaction that occurred as a result of the Deep Water Disaster produced both positive and negative outcomes.
The BP oil spill caused the relocation of large numbers of people. As damage to the environment and the regional economy lasted months, people had to respond to dangerous living conditions and lack of work in the fishing industry. Many people in the Louisiana Bayou had to move away for economic and safety reasons.
Lastly, the BP oil spill affected the culture of the entire gulf region. Known for its unique ecosystem, seafood and pristine beaches, these aspects of life, in the region, were subjected to severe damage in the foreseeable future and may be unrecoverable. Thus, the regional character of the area has been severely impacted if not permanently altered. A positive cultural change is the increase in environmental activism and resulting stricter safety regulations.


In conclusion, the BP oil spill is a geographical event because it caused changes that can be described using the 5 themes of geography. Location and place of the disaster created job losses, the human-environment interaction had to solve human-inflicting damage, and the movement of people meant a change in the Gulf region. These are all examples of the 5 themes of geography.




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