A burning oil spill in the Niger Delta. Photo via City of Refuge Africa
Living some 6,000 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that the oil spill often seems like an abstraction to me. A big, big abstraction, but still. Pictures of oil-covered pelicans and other heart-tugging images occasionally appear in the Turkish press, but generally, people here — like people anywhere — are more concerned about domestic issues, of which we have plenty. And I know that when I was living in the United States, the Turkish mining disasters that so compel me now would have seemed equally remote.
That’s why an article on “The World’s Ongoing Ecological Disasters” — some of which make the BP spill pale in comparison — offered an especially striking reminder that there are ecosystems and people suffering outside the eye of the nightly news.