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Gulf of Mexico

Human Impacts on Water

Next Alexandra and the Expedition Blue Planet crew journeyed to the Gulf states, where she and the expedition team investigated our impact on water - a critical facet of every water story - as seen through the lens of a carbon culture.

Here the crew witnessed firsthand the water impacts and public risk of our current energy extraction practices, whether it's devastation from failures during offshore oil production or the impacts of climate change on marine life in the Florida Keys. Alexandra spoke to those who had the most to lose, if they hadn't lost it already: Americans who have lost their culture, livelihoods and loved ones in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; Alabamians whose white sand beaches are gummed up with tar balls to the detriment of the tourism upon which they depend.

The team also revisited the community of La Fourche in Louisiana, where the fishing industry was already threatened by a growing dead zone in the sea, only to find that oil slicks had wreaked further havoc on the already weakened ecosystem. Alexandra celebrated in the unsung freshwater biodiversity of Alabama and spelled out how it is endangered by our current energy practices. Next, she and the crew visited Florida, where the coral reefs are threatened by ocean acidification and fluctuating ocean temperatures due to climate change.

Along the way, Alexandra engaged people in conversations about the public risks inherent in our energy extraction practices and the inter-generational costs that we suffer when things go wrong. In order to produce energy we take on enormous risks that can incur huge costs to our freshwater, costs that flow in the veins of our watersheds and waterways for generations to come. The Gulf is a visceral reminder that we must address these issues and start these dialogues now.