10:30 am on August 14th Syracuse residents gathered at MLK Steam school to vocalize local needs regarding the I-81 viaduct project. The New York Civil Liberties Union also known as NYCLU and Urban Jobs Task Force organized this March. The leaders included Deka Dancil and Lanessa Chaplin who both have been instrumental in the process to involve residents in the plans for the viaduct. Interstate I-81 Viaduct is notoriously known for its environmentally damaging proximity to black working-class residents in Syracuse. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released to the public by the New York Department of Transportation on July 16, 2021. Residents and city leaders are requesting racial justice, environmental justice, and economic justice. During the 19th century, African Americans in Syracuse, New York were negatively impacted by Jim Crow Laws and the Urban Renewal Program. This African American population resided in the east side of Syracuse by East Genesee. That population grew from 4,000 to 11,210 residents. With the construction of the I-81, residents were forced to move south with fewer resources. Residents nearest to the viaduct suffer tremendous health issues such as asthma due to the proximity of air pollution. By leaving a comment with NYCLU you can help to prevent further damage to the African American population that resides near the viaduct currently.

Below are images from the March on August 14th 2021.

Updated: Jul 15

So let us begin talking about this “Eye of Fire” which essentially is an underwater fire in the Gulf of Mexico. In this episode, we are going to uncover where this problem arose. Then talk about the culprit. Lastly, I plan to discuss some scientific research related to oceanography and potential damages to the biodiversity in the ocean.

West Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula experienced the backlash of a bursting underwater pipe. The gas rising caused the water to catch flame, and it is now known as the eye of fire. So, what are underwater pipes and why are they laid on the ocean bed, which is at the bottom of the ocean. The answer is that these underwater pipes are used to transport the fossil fuels we use every day in America and all around the world. Companies like Pemex, transport fossil fuels which have a negative environmental impact and are mostly run by companies that put profit over our environmental health.

Pemex is a state-owned monopoly petroleum company, because it is the only one in Mexico. So according to the company, the fire was caused by a gas leak rising to the surface. Pemex reported that there were electrical storms and heavy showers. There is no known environmental damage currently that they reported. We do know that the fire took five hours to put out.

The real concern is the fact that there is no known amount of how much gas that could have leaked. With potential high doses of methane, I did some research and I found that higher exposure to methane could lead to ocean acidification. Ocean acidification refers to the reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time.

When CO2 is absorbed, a series of chemical reactions occur resulting in the increased concentration of hydrogen ions. With an increase, carbonate ions are less abundant. The environmentally damaging results of this is making it difficult for structures like seashells and coral skeletons to maintain. This change in ocean chemistry affects behavior of non-calcifying organisms as well. With more acidic water, fish’s senses to detect predators decrease. With these organ

isms at risk, so is the entire ecosystem and food web. Ocean acidification affects our economy, our environment, and us as people. Sustainability within our energy system and avoiding fossil fuels is the only way towards a sustainable future.