OnEarth has a great article about a group of U.S. military veterans who are touring the country talking to groups about how important it is for the U.S. to make drastic moves towards using green energy to combat climate change. America’s dependence on oil compromises the country’s national security, they say.
At each stop the veterans get off the bus and share their stories, eyewitness accounts of the ways in which America’s dependence on oil affects not only which wars we fight but also our ability to wage war. In their own words, the vets say what many people have said before: America must become energy-independent, invest in renewables, and commit to a future that eradicates the threat of climate change — not because it’s the feel-good thing to do but because this nation’s security may depend on it.
Defenders of Wildlife got a peek inside a command center for the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Rooms full of FWS, Coast Guard and other staff at computers and phones tracking the data on the spill, printing out real-time maps, and directing others on the ground where to go to deploy booms, skimmers and conduct wildlife rescues. Rowan told us that helicopters fly a grid every day to gather data on the oil and wildlife. They report back to this central command center, which then deploys boats out to where wildlife is being impacted the most. Over fifty boats are staffed with rescue personnel and are out on the water every day, throughout the day, to capture oiled animals and bring them in for rehab. Just yesterday, they had captured 170 birds, five of them dead. He said it is really hard to get the oil off the birds, it’s just like Jello. This oil is way different than the oil in Valdez, AK. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen.
Staffers got a very comprehensive tour of the cleanup efforts, and there’s a great post that gives a lot of information I hadn’t heard before. Go check it out.
Tomorrow is World Oceans Day, when people in multiple countries from many organizations host events and get-togethers to “celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea.”
According to the “about” page, the day is supposed to help participants:
Change perspective – encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations.
Learn – discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful ocean creatures and habitats, how our daily actions affect them, and how we are all interconnected.
Change our ways – we are all connected to the ocean! By taking care of your backyard, you are acting as a caretaker of our ocean. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will greatly benefit our blue planet.
Celebrate – whether you live inland or on the coast we are all connected to the ocean; take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organize or participate in activities that celebrate our world ocean.
Considering the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I imagine the dialog will take on a sad tone. BP’s oil spill is likely to affect the water, animals and Gulf Coast residents for YEARS to come.
Mother Jones reporter Kate Shepperd has a caustic account of “mistakes” that BP has made during the 43 days that oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Go read the whole account, but here’s a very condensed version
From the top hat to the top kill: In the past six weeks, it’s become obvious that BP has no idea how to fix a hole a mile below the sea …
Tony Hayward, PR genius: BP’s tousle-haired CEO has a remarkable penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time …
Dirty dispersants: In a desperate attempt to contain the growing disaster it has created in the Gulf, BP has been spreading chemical dispersants on the sea and at the spill site a mile below the surface …
Oil? What oil? The dispersants that BP has pumped into the Gulf prevent the oil from hitting land … But by driving the oil under water, the dispersants are creating a different kind of environmental disaster in the sea.
Size matters: … It’s no surprise BP wants to play down the size of the catastrophe, as the company is likely to face penalties based on the amount of oil spilled.
Oppressing the press: Blocking fly-overs, barring press from beaches, sending reporters on wild-goose-chase-missions in search of the “BP liaison,” and making workers sign contracts promising not to talk to the media? Low, BP, low.
Disastrous planning: The emergency plan BP put together for its Gulf exploration was a joke.
Misleading Congress: … [A BP executive] assured legislators that drilling is totally safe.
Plus all those other accidents: If we were to list all of the disastrous exploits in BP’s recent history, this list would run a lot longer than a top 10.