Silence in the Marsh

On the NBC Nightly News two nights ago (June 28) Brian Williams interviewed Plaquemines Parish president and Louisiana native Billy Nungessor. What Mr. Nungessor said about the destruction in the marshes, and his description of the silence in the marsh made the effects of the Gulf Oil disaster feel painfully real and close.

“This is the real fight, this is the real war, out here,” he said. “We may never clean this marsh up, we may never get the rookeries, we may never get the wildlife, the oyster beds, the breeding grounds back. You go out to an area where this oil has destroyed the marsh, and you go out there and turn the engine off in your boat, and you don’t hear a bug, a cricket. It’s dead.”

Imagining that silence in the sweeping marshes of the coast is heartbreaking and frightening in a way that feels like being hit in the stomach. It seems undeniable that we are losing a vast and beautiful network of life and thousands, millions of living plants and animals at a stunning rate, more of them every day as this cloud of poison grows and spreads.

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