Photojournalist Gerald Herbert has documented the entire course of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf, from the rig explosion to the slick's impact on fishermen and wildlife. Herbert, a Louisiana native, says the oil's impact on Southern Louisiana is "just beginning" and will continue to affect his region for a long time to come.
Many of the fishermen in the region who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the spill believe the fallout will be worse than after Hurricane Katrina. They say the water will be difficult to clean and it will take a long time before it can be fished in again. In the meantime, they must find other work to support their families.
Herbert also documented wildlife, from the smallest dragonflies to the most magnificent birds, that continue to suffer from the oil that coats their wings and feathers. His photos also reveal that future generations of animals will be affected because bird eggs and hatchlings are becoming coated with oil that can kill or impair them.
"It's affecting everything from the insects, to -- the little insects are going to get the oil on them. The birds are going to be eating the insects. And it's going to go all the way up the food chain." - Gerald Herbert, Associated Press photojournalist
"Early on... there was a big meeting of all these fishermen. They are all out of work all on the same day, all at once, as though a hurricane hit. And all of them are walking around saying, this is going to be worse than Katrina." - Gerald Herbert, Associated Press photojournalist
"These men are faced with mortgages. They probably have mortgages on their boat. They have families to feed. They have a livelihood that they're used to, and they don't probably have other skills that they can apply to replace their livelihood and earn an income elsewhere, nor do they want to." - Gerald Herbert, Associated Press photojournalist
1. How does an environmental crisis like the Gulf oil spill affect different animal species?
2. What is photojournalism?
3. What can you learn from a photograph?
1. Which image sticks in your mind? Why?
2. What is unique about using photos to tell a story? How does a photo essay function differently than a written essay?
3. What did the photographer mean when he said the oil is working its way up the food chain?
4. Imagine you were a fisherman who lost his or her job because of the oil spill. What would you do? How do you think the fishermen who are out of work in the Gulf can support their families now that they can't fish anymore?
5. How might this spill affect the way Americans think about energy sources such as oil?