Oil Threatens Gulf’s Sargassum

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The Gulf of Mexico’s sargassum, known locally as Gulfweed, is a marine seaweed that floats at the surface, providing vital nursery grounds for much of the marine life of these waters. The Gulf’s sargassum sea is the second largest on Earth after the Sargasso Sea, which circulates in the center of the North Atlantic Gyre. This video and article from the Mobile Press-Register tells the story of sargassum, and its terrible vulnerability to oil.

The floating seaweed amounts to the most ephemeral of the Gulf’s aquatic habitats, gathering in patches that range from the size of a backyard pool to swaths measured in hundreds of acres. It drifts at the mercy of wind and tides and collects along the offshore rip lines where different currents meet. Sometimes, it gets pushed ashore, where it rots and stinks, upsetting beachgoers. The same forces that push sargassum patches around in the Gulf are now pushing oil slicks and emulsified goop the consistency of Hershey’s syrup. It is inevitable that the two will meet. When they do, scientists say, the sargassum will die.

A day in the sargassum

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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